From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The American arrested in a sweep of al-Qaeda members worked as a laborer at five nuclear plants in South Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, federal officials said today.
Sharif Mobley had a "red badge" clearance, the highest level a laborer can obtain, while working on at the Salem-Hope Creek nuclear plants in Salem County, according to a spokesman from the local union of which he was a member.
Sharif was arrested last week with suspected al-Qaeda members in Yemen and officials said he then killed a guard while trying to escape from a hospital. He is under FBI investigation in Delaware. Law enforcement sources have said the investigation is terror-related.
He was a contractor with the Local 222 chapter of the New Jersey Laborer's Union in Camden for projects in Salem County.
"He had full clearance to go where he needed to be," said chapter Business Manager Curt Jenkins. "You have no way of knowing what somebody's thinking. He went through the strenuous background checks that everybody else has to go through."
The NRC's Sheehan said, "A laborer typically would not have access to any security-related or sensitive information."
Background checks include criminal history, drug testing, employment verification and psychological assessments. The companies - not the NRC - carry out the background checks and are required to do ongoing behavioral observation.
PSEG spokesman Joe Delmar said Mobley worked as a contract laborer during refueling outages from 2002 to 2008 and satisfied federal security requirements.
Federal authorities told state Homeland Security officials that there was no security breach involving Mobley at the nuclear plants, according to Mike Drewniak, spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie.
Jenkins said Mobley, who worked on scaffolding at the nuclear plants and excavation projects in Camden County, would have been put through a repeated background check each time he worked on a new job. He said those checks are thorough, going as far back as childhood.
"If there's anything there they're going to find it," he said.
Mobley transferred from the Philadelphia Local 322 in 2003 and then suspended his union membership in 2008, telling Jenkins he was going to school. He didn't say where or what for. Jenkins assumed he was at a university in the region or "in the country at least." [Emphasis added.]
This does make us wonder though, will this guy still get his union pension? Given the LIUNA's much storied past, we cannot say for certain.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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