New Jersey Man Scouted Sites for Hezbollah Attacks, Charges Allege
A federal grand jury has charged a New Jersey man with being a U.S. operative for the Iranian terrorist group Hezbollah, and for scouting potential attack sites like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
Alexei Saab, a 42-year-old Lebanon native and naturalized US citizen, was charged in an indictment Thursday with nine offenses, which include providing material support to Hezbollah, the US Justice Department said.
Saab, of Morristown, is in federal custody, awaiting trial in federal court in New York. He was arrested July 9.
He is at least the third American charged since 2017 with being an agent for Hezbollah, an Iranian-linked, Lebanon-rooted Shia Islamic group considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
It should be noted that any retaliatory attack on Iran for the Saudi drone strike on its oil facilities by the U.S. would give Tehran the option of activating these terrorists. The groundwork has already been laid, planning is complete, and it's reasonable to assume that explosives and weapons are in place.
While he was in Lebanon in 2003, a Hezbollah handler asked him to prepare a detailed guide to New York City. So, he returned to the US and scouted numerous sites in New York, focusing on "the structural weaknesses of locations ... to determine how a future attack could cause the most destruction," the Justice Department said.
Saab gathered information and took photographs of the sites, according to the Justice Department, including:
- The United Nations headquarters
- The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Times Square
- The Empire State Building
- Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange
- Rockefeller Center
- Federal, state and local government buildings
- Local airports
Later that year, he returned to Lebanon and wrote a report about the potential targets, and also turned in the corresponding photographs, a complaint filed in court reads.
"Saab understood that the information he provided to the IJO would be used to calculate the size of a bomb needed to target a particular structure and the ideal location in which to place explosive devices to maximize damage," the complaint reads.
How many Hezbollah members are in the United States? Authorities won't say, but it's a good bet they've got cells all across the country as well as in several countries south of the border, including Venezuela.
Most of the cells are here to raise money. Drug running and human trafficking are two of their favorite fundraising gimmicks. Their connections to the cartels make them extremely dangerous because the drug gangs can get their hands on just about any high explosive on the market, as well as any guns they need.
Suffice it to say, we have to start taking this threat much more seriously.