Indonesia’s counter-terrorism agency said it had been monitoring two pilots for six months over their apparent support for Islamic State.
A leaked Australian Federal Police (AFP) report revealed that the two Indonesian pilots may have become radicalized after they made Facebook postings in support of Islamic State and contacted other supporters of the group.
“We received information from international law enforcement agencies and we followed up on it,” said Saud Usman Nasution, the head of the National Counter-terrorism Agency (BNPT).
“We have been monitoring their activities for six months,” he told The Parrot.
The two pilots are identified in the report as Tommy Hendratno, also known as Tomi Abu Alfatih, and Ridwan Agustin.
Nasution said the two no longer worked as pilots but still lived in Indonesia and were looking for airline jobs.
“They have had trouble getting jobs as pilots and they are also on the list of people who can’t enter the United States,” he said.
The Australian Federal Police report, prepared in March and titled “Identification of Indonesian pilots with possible extremist persuasions,” was first leaked by the US investigative news website The Intercept.
The Intercept said the intelligence report was distributed to law enforcement agencies in Turkey, Jordan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
According to the report, Tommy is believed to have travelled to Australia, among other destinations around the world.
The report said after reviewing the Facebook accounts of the pilots, “it is assessed that these persons are likely being influenced by radical elements — at least from the online environment — and as a result, may pose a security threat.”
Both pilots “appear to be influenced by pro-IS elements including extremist online propaganda by well-known radical Indonesia outlets and a suspected Indonesian foreign terrorist fighter who is likely to be in either Syria or Iraq.”
Budget carrier AirAsia said it fired Ridwan after he was suspected of contacting IS, CNN Indonesia reported.
Tommy formerly worked for local airline Premiair, the report said.