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On Thursday, the DOJ announced the indictment of a scout for Hezbollah – an Iran-backed terrorist group that Rep. Ilhan Omar once laughed off – on U.S. soil.
The Hezbollah scout, Alexei Saab, was a New Jersey resident and legal U.S. citizen who immigrated here back in 2000. Saab is facing charges of scoping out targets and locations for Hezbollah terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Boston.
According to the DOJ, locations Saab allegedly scoped out for the terrorist group included “the United Nations headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and local airports, tunnels, and bridges.”
Hezbollah is the same terrorist group that Ilhan Omar discussed while laughing back in a 2013 interview in which she mocked Americans for their concern about the terrorists, along with Al-Qaeda.
Here's that astonishing clip which has been making its rounds on Twitter in light of the Hezbollah operative bust:
Folks, is this any way a congresswoman should talk about terrorists who want to attack our nation and its people?
Here's an excerpt from the official DOJ statement regarding the indictment of Alexei Saab:
The Department of Justice today announced that Alexei Saab, 42, of Morristown, New Jersey, also known as Ali Hassan Saab, Alex Saab, or Rachid, was charged today in a nine-count indictment for offenses related to his support for Hizballah and separate marriage-fraud offenses. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe.
“According to the allegations, while living in the United States, Saab served as an operative of Hizballah and conducted surveillance of possible target locations in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “Such covert activities conducted on U.S. soil are a clear threat to our national security and I applaud the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation and prosecution.”
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “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. Thankfully, Saab is now in federal custody, and faces significant prison time for his alleged crimes.”
“As alleged, Saab began his training with Hizballah operatives overseas and, while living in the U.S., surveilled multiple locations in major cities,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. “Today’s announcement highlights 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. In the city that never sleeps, neither do the FBI agents, detectives, and analysts who work on the JTTF to protect it, and because of their work, Saab’s future surveillances will be limited to a cell. 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.”
“I would like to thank the efforts of the investigators and our Counter-Terrorism law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to assemble the case that prevents this individual from caring out his plans,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This case sends a clear message of deterrence to all those who plot to promote violence here in the U.S. and abroad.”
According to the Indictment and Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
Hizballah is a Lebanon-based Shia Islamic organization with political, social, and terrorist components. 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. Since Hizballah’s formation, the organization has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds, including United States citizens and military personnel. In 1997, the U.S. Department of State designated Hizballah a Foreign Terrorist Organization, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and it remains so designated today. In 2001, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, the U.S. Department of Treasury designated Hizballah a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity. In 2010, State Department officials described Hizballah as the most technically capable terrorist group in the world, and a continued security threat to the United States.
NBC New York also had the following to say:
A scout for the militant group Hezbollah was looking at locations for attacks in New York, Boston and Washington and sending target information back to leadership in Lebanon, federal prosecutors said.
They unveiled a nine-count indictment in Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday against Alexei Saab of Morristown, New Jersey, who has been in custody since July 9 after being brought in by members of the NYPD and FBI. The government alleges that Saab has been a Hezbollah member since 1996 and has extensive firearms and bomb-making training.
Among Saab's dozens of alleged New York City targets, prosecutors said, were the George Washington Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Herald Square and the local airports and tunnels.
He also surveiled targets in Boston and Washington, including Fenway Park and the Washington Monument.
"Today’s announcement highlights 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," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said. "In the city that never sleeps, neither do the FBI agents, detectives, and analysts who work on the JTTF to protect it, and because of their work, Saab’s future surveillances will be limited to a cell."
Saab, 42 and a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2008, faces charges of providing material support and receiving military training from a foreign terrorist organization, procuring citizenship to facilitate an act of terrorism, as well as conspiracy and fraud charges.