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"UAL Pilot Allegedly Threatened to Crash Plane into Wall Street"

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Pilot Allegedly Threatened to Crash Plane
The Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- A United Airlines pilot who also flew for the National
Guard told a woman that he wanted to crash a plane into Wall Street because
some people made ``easy money'' there, court documents allege.

Robert Feneziani, 44, of San Diego, was arrested Wednesday by FBI agents
with the Joint Terrorism Task Force of Western New York and charged with
lying on a military application for a security clearance. He pleaded not
guilty and was released on $10,000 bail.

On an October application for top security clearance, Feneziani said he had
not been arrested or involved in civil court actions in the last seven
years, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch said.

Officials later found he was arrested on two misdemeanor charges in San
Diego, charges that were later dropped, and was involved in a civil court
matter in 2000.

According to an FBI agent's affidavit, the woman, whose identity was not
revealed in court papers, called the FBI Feb. 2 and told the agent Feneziani
had made a threat in 2003 to crash a plane. Based on that information, the
FBI investigated Feneziani and learned he had allegedly lied on the Defense
Department form, the affidavit said.

United Airlines spokesman Jeff Green said Feneziani was removed from service
pending the outcome of the case. Authorities said Feneziani had already been
suspended from military flight status based on problems with anger

Authorities continue to investigate the statements Feneziani allegedly made
to the woman and future charges are possible, U.S. Attorney Michael Battle
said Thursday.

``For reasons that are fairly obvious, we have to take these claims
seriously,'' he said. ``We don't know where they're going to lead us. If it
were a passenger at an airport or on a plane it's one thing, but when you're
talking about a pilot who's in a little bit more control, it ratchets it up
a little bit.''

The woman said that Feneziani made the threat about Wall Street because ``he
was frustrated that some people made easy money,'' the court papers said.

``We do not believe he poses any imminent threat to commit an act of
terrorism, but we believe he has made threatening remarks in the past that
cause some serious concern,'' said Peter Ahearn, special agent in charge of
the FBI in Buffalo.

The charge of providing false statements to the Defense Department carries a
maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Feneziani was
assigned to the New York Air National Guard's 107th Air Refueling Wing in
Niagara Falls.


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