NJ man charged with scouting landmarks for Hezbollah, trying to kill Israeli spy
[IsraelTimes] Alexei Saab allegedly recorded video of US sites including Statue of Liberty, White House and Boston’s Fenway Park as potential terrorism targets in the early 2000s.
A New Jersey man who allegedly photographed or recorded video of landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, the White House and Boston’s Fenway Park as potential terrorism targets in the early to mid-2000s has been charged with terror offenses by authorities who say he was working on behalf of Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad
...created after many members of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah...
Alexei Saab, 42, of Morristown, was arrested July 9 after being questioned during 11 separate sessions with FBI agents since the spring. Besides terror charges in a nine-count indictment returned Thursday, he was also charged with marriage fraud. A message for comment was left with Saab’s attorney.
During interviews, Saab told agents he took photographs of buildings and locations including Quincy Market and the Prudential Center in Boston and the Capitol Building, Congress and the White House in Washington, D.C., according to a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. A video of Fenway Park that authorities say was recovered from one of Saab’s electronic devices was included in the complaint.
Authorities say Saab took surveillance at dozens of locations in New York City, including the United Nations
...an idea whose time has gone...
, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building and airports, tunnels and bridges and provided information on those locations to the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO, distinct from the Paleostinian Islamic Jihad).
Besides surveillance activities in the United States, authorities said he also operated abroad, including trying to murder a man he later understood to be a suspected Israeli spy and gathering intelligence for Hezbollah in Istanbul,
The Sick Man of Europe Turkey
...the only place on the face of the earth that misses the Ottoman Empire...
. The complaint said he pointed a weapon at the individual at close range and pulled the trigger twice, but the firearm did not fire.
Authorities said Saab joined Hezbollah in 1996 and attended training in 1999, where he learned about firearms, including how to handle military assault rifles and grenades. In 2004 and 2005, he was trained in explosives in Leb, they said.
Saab entered the US legally in November 2000 and became a citizen in 2008.
Saab was charged with marriage fraud for allegedly marrying a co-conspirator in 2012 under false pretenses.
"As a member of the Hizballah component that coordinates external terrorist attack planning, Alexei Saab allegedly used his training to scout possible targets throughout the U.S. Even though Saab was a naturalized American citizen, his true allegiance was to Hizballah, the terrorist organization responsible for decades of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds, including U.S. citizens and military personnel," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a release. Hizballah is an alternate spelling for Hezbollah.
William F. Sweeney Jr., head of New York’s FBI office, said the charges against Saab highlight "the persistent efforts of a sophisticated international terrorist organization to scout targets at home and abroad, identifying vulnerabilities, and gathering essential details useful for a future attack."
He said what law enforcement authorities can do to prevent terrorism has its limits.
"We cannot do this work alone. I would like to thank the countless private security professionals who protect many of these sites, remind them to remain vigilant in order to make the enemy’s job more difficult, and I would ask the general public to continue to report suspicious activity to law enforcement like you have so many times in the past," Sweeney said.
Charges lodged against Saab include providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy, receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization, unlawful procurement of citizenship to facilitate international terrorism and citizenship application fraud. The most serious charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 25 years in prison, though the charges collectively carry potential penalties of over 100 years in prison.
In 2000, Saab transitioned to membership in Hizballah’s unit responsible for external operations, the IJO, and he then received extensive training in IJO tradecraft, weapons, and military tactics, including how to construct bombs and other explosive devices.
The feds claim that Saab applied for naturalized citizenship in the U.S. in 2005 in order to facilitate his real mission, which was scouting American landmarks for security and structural weaknesses he could transmit back to Hezbollah:
In 2005, Saab applied for naturalized citizenship and falsely affirmed, under penalty of perjury, that he had never been “a member of or in any way associated with . . . a terrorist organization.” In August 2008, Saab became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
While living in the United States, Saab remained an IJO operative, continued to receive military training in Lebanon, and conducted numerous operations for the IJO. For example, Saab surveilled dozens of locations in New York City—including the United Nations headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and local airports, tunnels, and bridges—and provided detailed information on these locations, including photographs, to the IJO. In particular, Saab focused on the structural weaknesses of locations he surveilled in order to determine how a future attack could cause the most destruction. Saab’s reporting to the IJO included the materials used to construct a particular target, how close in proximity one could get to a target, and site weaknesses or “soft spots” that the IJO could exploit if it attacked a target in the future. Saab conducted similar intelligence gathering in a variety of American cities.
Saab faces nine indictments, including a charge related to supporting a terrorist organization, for which he could face 20 years in prison if convicted.
Saab could face 25 years in prison if convicted of offenses related to the fraudulent marriage charges.
In May, another American of Lebanese origin, Ali Kourani, was found guilty of supporting Hizbullah attacks and collecting information about the security operations of US airports, including John F. Kennedy in New York.
His sentencing is set for later this month.
| We may or may not be interested in war with Iran, but Iran has clearly been preparing to fight us on our soil for decades. |
Posted by: trailing wife 2019-09-20