Alexei Saab (right), also known as Ali Hassan Saab, Alex Saab, or Rachid, is charged with providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization – Hezbollah – and conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, as well as immigration fraud and citizenship application fraud.
ABC News/CBS News He is also charged with receiving military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to receive military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization to facilitate an act of international terrorism and marriage fraud conspiracy. Other charges include citizenship application fraud, naturalization fraud and making false statements.
The indictment alleges that Saab of Morristown, who was taken into custody in July, has been a member of the militant group for more than 20 years, including training in the use of M16 rifles and AK-47s as well as grenades. The nine-count indictment accuses the alleged terror operative of sending all this information to Hezbollah’s External Terrorist Operations Component – which is also known as the Islamic Jihad Organization by U.S.
According to the indictment, Saab joined Hezbollah in 1996 in Lebanon where he observed and reported on the movements of Israeli troops. He also was trained to construct explosive devices, with the federal records showing diagrams of bombs he had built.
He was also trained in bomb-making and circuit assembly, falsely claiming he had never been a member or associate of a terrorist organization in 2005 when he applied for citizenship, according to the indictment. He became a U.S. citizen in 2008.
“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,” federal officials said in a statement Thursday.
“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,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.