WASHINGTON, An American citizen was charged Thursday in a “nine-count indictment for offenses related to his support for Hezbollah and separate marriage-fraud offenses.” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said, “according to the allegations, while living in the United States, (Alexei) Saab served as an operative of Hezbollah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States.” For his part, US Attorney General Geoffrey Berman said, “as a member of the Hezbollah component that coordinates external terrorist attack planning, Alexei Saab allegedly used his training to scout possible targets throughout the US.” “As alleged, Saab began his training with Hezbollah operatives overseas and, while living in the US, surveilled multiple locations in major cities,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney.
According to the Department of Justice, Saab lawfully entered the US using a Lebanese passport, where in 2005, he applied for naturalized citizenship and falsely affirmed that he had never been “a member of or in any way associated with — a terrorist organization.” In August 2008, Saab became a naturalized US citizen.
It noted that “while living in the US, Saab remained an IJO (Islamic Jihad Organization) operative, continued to receive military training in Lebanon, and conducted numerous operations for the IJO,” where for example, he “surveilled dozens of locations in New York City, including the United Nations headquarters.
It indicated that the FBI recovered photographs from Saab’s electronic devices “reflecting his surveillance activities, including photographs of New York City landmarks.” Saab is charged with “providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and receiving military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a sentence of 10 years in prison or a fine.
He is also charged with conspiracy to receive military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization to facilitate an act of international terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison; marriage fraud conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years; citizenship application fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years; naturalization fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years; and making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.”
Source: Kuwait News Agency