A New Jersey software engineer lived a dark double life as a “sleeper agent” in an elite Hezbollah unit, scouting terrorist targets in New York City for the militant group, federal prosecutors charged early in his trial Monday.
Alexei Saab, 45, posed as a “normal” law-abiding US citizen — while also gathering intelligence on a number of Big Apple landmarks, tunnels and bridges, Assistant US Attorney Sam Adelsberg said in his opening statement.
“He pretended to be a normal guy,” Adelsberg said. “In reality, he was a ready-to-hit Hezbollah sleeper agent.”
Recruited by the terrorist organization as a college student in Lebanon, Saab rose through the ranks to eventually join the “external security organization” or Unit 910, the prosecutor claimed.
In the early 2000s, Hezbollah dispatched Saab and other “spies” to countries including the US — and used them to kill Americans if the US attacked Iran, the group’s main ally, he said.
“He was sent by Hezbollah to set up a dormitory cell here in this town,” Adelsberg told jurors.
Between 2000 and 2005, the Morristown resident allegedly monitored potential targets for Hezbollah — including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Midtown Tunnel, the George Washington Bridge, and even federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, where his trial is now taking place.
As part of his work for the unit, Saab determined whether the sites had weak spots, or “weak spots” — and where a bomb would need to be planted near them to do the most damage, Adelsberg claimed.
Saab, a US citizen since 2008, was arrested by the FBI in 2019 and charged with allegedly providing material support to the deadly organization on multiple counts, including terrorism.
Defense attorney Marlon Kirton said the Justice Department’s case was based almost entirely on statements Saab made to investigators before being informed of his Miranda rights.
Kirton also argued that Hezbollah has never attacked US citizens in America – and that Saab was recruited into the group amid a regional conflict between Lebanon and Israel.
“To date, there is no evidence that Hezbollah has attacked people here in America,” Kirton said in his opening statement.
If convicted on all charges, Saab faces dozens of years in prison.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/25/nj-man-lived-double-life-as-hezbollah-sleeper-agent-feds/ A man from NJ lived a double life as Hezbollah’s “sleeper agent”: FBI