MORRISTOWN, NJ - A Morristown man was indicted on nine federal charges in connection with the HIzballah's Islamic Jihad Organization, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Authorities believe the Alexei Saab, also known as Ali Hassan Saab, Alex Saab or Rachid) conducted surveillance of possible target locations for the Lebanon-based Shia Islamic organization.

According to the Department of Justice, Saab surveilled dozens of locations in New York City, focusing on structural weaknesses of these locations—including the United Nations headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and local airports, tunnels, and bridges. The DOJ said Saab provided detailed information on these locations, including photographs.

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“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,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. “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."

FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. stated that Saab began his training with Hizballah operatives overseas and unveiled multiple locations in major cities.

“The 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," 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 surveillance will be limited to a cell." 

Saab is in federal custody and was indicted on the following charges:

  • 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
  • Receiving military-type training from a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a sentence of 10 years in prison or a fine
  • 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. 

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Editor's Note - The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty