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DOJ: NJ Software Engineer Allegedly Scoped Terror Targets for Hezbollah

( Breitbart )


A U.S. citizen named Alexei Saab allegedly performed surveillance work at various U.S. landmarks for the jihadist terrorist group Hezbollah from 2000 to 2005 and was “ready to attack Americans at popular locations if Iran was attacked by the U.S.,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Adelsberg said in a federal court on Monday.


He made the allegations during the opening arguments of Saab’s terrorism trial, the Associated Press (AP) reported.


“By day, Saab was a software engineer working for technology companies,” the AP paraphrased Adelsberg as saying on April 25.


“By night, he was ‘a terrorist and spy’ scoping out potential terrorism targets in New York, Boston, [and] Washington, DC,” the AP further paraphrased Adelsberg as saying.


Saab, 45, is a resident of Morristown, New Jersey. He gained U.S. citizenship in 2008 after first entering the country in 2000 with a Lebanese passport. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced extensive terrorism-related charges against Saab in a press release issued on September 19, 2019. The charges against Saab included the following:

[P]roviding 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; receiving military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a sentence of 10 years in prison or a fine. [C]onspiracy 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.

The DOJ has accused Saab of working as a member of Hezbollah’s external operations unit, also known as the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), both within and outside of the U.S. from 2000 to 2005.


Saab surveilled several New York City landmarks as part of his reconnaissance work including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center, according to the indictment.


He additionally studied the layouts of New York City-area tunnels, bridges, and airports. Saab, a professional engineer, allegedly relayed information to the IJO that highlighted perceived structural weaknesses or “soft spots” of the sites he surveilled.


Hezbollah allegedly planned to use this specific information to help the group determine how to maximize destruction should they plan a theoretical terror attack on or near the site.

The official website of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) defines Hezbollah as both a designated terrorist group and a participant of Lebanon’s government.


“Hizballah is a Lebanon-based Shia Islamic organization with political, social, and terrorist components,” according to the DOJ’s September 2019 press release announcing Saab’s indictment. “Hizballah was founded in the 1980s with support from Iran after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and its mission includes establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state in Lebanon.”


The U.S. State Department designated Hezbollah a “foreign terrorist organization” in 1997 while the U.S. Treasury Department designated the group a “specially designated global terrorist entity” in 2001.


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