Hezbollah Sleeper Agent Convicted Of Plotting U.S. Terror Attacks
Lebanese-born terrorist was a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Tensions and hostilities between the United States and Iran have been ramping up and while the news media focuses on how Iran has been operating throughout the Middle East threatening our allies including Israel, the media has ignored that operatives of Hezbollah have, for many years, been operating widely throughout Latin America in conjunction with drug cartels that engage in the smuggling of huge quantities of narcotics into the United States as well as huge numbers of aliens.
This not only provides a major source of revenue for Iran to fund its wide-ranging terrorist operations but to provide Iran with opportunities to move sleeper agents into the United States.
Of course “Sleeper Agents” not unlike aliens in general don’t just enter the United States illegally by running our borders but also enter the U.S. by various other methods, including by being admitted legally at ports of entry.
The issue of “Sleeper Agents” is not a new threat but one that has been of great concern for many years.
On March 21, 2012 the House Committee on Homeland Security that was then chaired by New York Congressman Peter King, conducted a hearing on the topic, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Threat to the Homeland. The Huffington Post published a report on the hearing, Peter King: Iran May Have ‘Hundreds’ Of Hezbollah Agents In U.S.
I have written a number of previous articles about this clear and immediate threat that Iran poses to U.S. national security and public safety. One of my recent articles was entitled, Iran Threatens U.S. And Its Allies With “Drugs, Refugees, Bombs And Assassination.”
My commentary today, however, is predicated on a May 17, 2019 Justice Department press release that announced:
Ali Kourani Convicted in Manhattan Federal Court for Covert Terrorist Activities on Behalf of Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization
Ali Kourani Was Trained by Hizballah’s External Terrorist Operations Component and Gathered Intelligence in New York City in Support of Attack-Planning Efforts
That press release began with this statement that noted he also committed immigration law violations:
Yesterday, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Ali Kourani, a.k.a. “Ali Mohamad Kourani,” a.k.a. “Jacob Lewis,” a.k.a. “Daniel,” on all eight counts in the Indictment, which charged him with terrorism, sanctions and immigration offenses for his illicit work as an operative for Hizballah’s external attack-planning component. Kourani is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 27, 2019…
It further stated:
“While living in the United States, Kourani served as an operative of Hizballah in order to help the foreign terrorist organization prepare for potential future attacks against the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “The evidence at trial showed that Kourani searched for suppliers who could provide weapons for such attacks, identified people who could be recruited or targeted for violence, and gathered information about and conducted surveillance of potential targets within our country. 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.”
“Ali Kourani was recruited, trained and deployed by Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization to plan and execute acts of terrorism in the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Berman. “Kourani’s chilling mission was to help procure weapons and gather intelligence about potential targets in the U.S. for future Hizballah terrorist attacks. Some of the targets Kourani surveilled included JFK Airport and law enforcement facilities in New York City, including the federal building at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan. Today, Kourani has fittingly been convicted for his crimes in a courthouse that stands in the shadow of one of his potential targets.”
I originally wrote about the arrest of Ali Kourani and his alleged cohort, Samer el Debek in my article, Two Alleged Hezbollah Jihadists Arrested In U.S.
I noted in that article that immigration (naturalization) was the key to their terrorist activities. In point of fact, both men had become naturalized United States citizens before they were tasked by their Hezbollah handlers.
The New York Times reported on this case in the article, Bronx Man Accused of Casing J.F.K. Airport for Potential Hezbollah Attack that included this paragraph:
The man, Ali Kourani, a 32-year-old naturalized citizen from Lebanon, told the F.B.I. in a series of interviews that he believed he had been recruited to join Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization as part of an effort to develop “sleepers” who lived ostensibly normal lives but could be “activated and tasked” with conducting operations, the complaint said.
The article went on to note:
Mr. Kourani said he had been recruited to join the organization in 2008, in light of his education and because he lived in the United States, the authorities said in the complaint. They said that he had told the authorities that one of his first instructions from his “handler” in Lebanon, a man called Fadi, was to obtain American citizenship as soon as possible, which he did in 2009.
On May 16, 2019 U.S. News and World Report published an article, New Yorker Convicted of Giving Material Support to Hezbollah that included this excerpt:
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Kourani surveilled terrorism targets in New York City, including Kennedy International Airport and law enforcement facilities including the building housing the FBI.
"Ali Kourani was recruited, trained, and deployed by Hezbollah's Islamic Jihad Organization to plan and execute acts of terrorism in the United States. Kourani's chilling mission was to help procure weapons and gather intelligence about potential targets in the U.S. for future Hezbollah terrorist attacks," Berman said in a release.
Authorities said the Lebanon-born Kourani received sophisticated military training overseas at least twice, including in 2000 at age 16. They said he was trained in the use of a rocket propelled grenade.
Authorities said he came to the U.S. legally in 2003, eventually earning a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering in 2009 and a master's degree in business administration in 2013.
Kourani received the sort of high-tech education, in the U.S., that could certainly assist him in launching terror attacks on American soil.
What has not been reported is an alien who becomes a naturalized citizen my change his/her name at the time that they acquire U.S. citizenship and their U.S. passport will only reflect their new name. In essence we are permitting aliens to create their own “witness protection program” that provides them with the opportunity to use their new identities to potentially enter countries around the world that may not have admitted them under their original identities. Furthermore, by having two different passports under two different nationalities and names, they can alternate the passports that they use to acquire airline tickets and gain entry into different countries while successfully covering their tracks not unlike the way that a smuggler may drag a branch behind him in the desert to cover his tracks in the sand.
I have addressed this major vulnerability when I have testified before Congress but it has never been addressed.
Indeed, politicians from both parties are eager to provide pathways to U.S. citizenship to unknown millions of illegal aliens to “solve” the immigration crisis.
As I noted some time ago, Terrorists Value U.S. Citizenshp More Than Our Politicians Do.