War on Terrorism

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ohio Man Charged With Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS



A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Alebbini allegedly attempted to provide support in the form of personnel, namely himself, to ISIS.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division and other members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) announced the indictment.

Alebbini was arrested on April 26 at the Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport and charged with the same crime by criminal complaint. He has remained in custody since his arrest. A citizen of Jordan, Alebbini is a legal permanent resident of the U.S.

Attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The JTTF includes officers and agents from the Cincinnati Police Department, Colerain Police Department, Dayton Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, University of Cincinnati Police Department, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, FBI, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Oakwood Police Department, West Chester Police Department and Cincinnati State Police Department.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the JTTF, as well as First Assistant Vipal J. Patel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dominick S. Gerace and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, who are prosecuting the case.

Friday, May 05, 2017

New Jersey Man Charged With Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS



Gregory Lepsky, 20, of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, will appear in federal court today to face allegations that he planned to construct and use a pressure cooker bomb in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Lepsky is charged by criminal complaint with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS.

The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana Boente and Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick for the District of New Jersey. Lepsky is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark, New Jersey federal court.

According to the complaint:

On February 21, Lepsky was arrested by the Point Pleasant Police Department in connection with an incident that occurred that day in his family’s home. Following the arrest, law enforcement officers searched the residence and found a new pressure cooker stored behind a roll of bubble wrap in Lepsky’s bedroom closet.

During searches of computers and other digital evidence linked to Lepsky, law enforcement found evidence of Lepsky’s plan to build and detonate a bomb as part of his support for ISIS. During several social media communications, Lepsky told others that he intended to fight on behalf of ISIS, and that he would, if necessary, become a martyr by driving a “bunch of explosives” to where the “enemies” could be found and blowing himself up.



Law enforcement also located a series of instructions that had been published online by another terrorist group that gave specific, step-by-step instructions on how to build a pressure cooker bomb, which coincided with the delivery to Lepsky of the pressure cooker a short time before his arrest. In addition, law enforcement recovered a message forwarded by Lepsky from another ISIS supporter stating that if a westerner could not travel to Syria to fight for ISIS, he could conduct a terrorist attack in his home country using improvised explosive devices.



The material support charge carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office under the direction of Attorney General Christopher Porrino; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Joseph Coronato; the Point Pleasant Police Department under the direction of Chief Richard P. Larsen; and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness under the direction of Director Chris Rodriguez, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Donnelly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit in Newark and Trial Attorneys Justin Sher and B. Celeste Corlett of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Justice Department Secures the Denaturalization of a Senior Jihadist Operative Who Was Convicted of Terrorism in Egypt



On April 19, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered an order that revoked the naturalized U.S. citizenship of a confessed al-Qaeda operative, restrained and enjoined him from claiming any rights, privileges, or advantages of U.S. citizenship and ordered him to immediately surrender and deliver his Certificate of Naturalization and any other indicia of U.S. citizenship to federal authorities, the Justice Department announced.

“The Justice Department is committed to protecting our nation’s national security and will aggressively pursue denaturalization of known or suspected terrorists,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “This case demonstrates the Department’s commitment to using all tools at its disposal, both criminally and civilly, to strategically enforce our nation’s immigration laws and to disrupt international terrorism. I congratulate the aggressive and effective investigation and prosecution by the Department of Justice team. We will protect our national security and our borders, and when we identify individuals tied to foreign terrorist organizations who procured their U.S. citizenship by fraud, we will initiate denaturalization proceedings - whether you reside here or abroad - and ensure you are denied entry into the United States.”

Khaled Abu al-Dahab, 57, an Egyptian-born naturalized U.S. citizen and former Silicon Valley car salesman is a confessed member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) terrorist organization. Al-Dahab admitted to attending a training camp near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he received military-style training and taught foreign fighters to fly hang gliders in preparation for terrorist attacks. Moreover, al-Dahab told the FBI that, during the period in which he was supposed to establish the good moral character to naturalize under the Immigration and Nationality Act, he operated a communications hub for EIJ operatives out of his Santa Clara, California apartment. He facilitated the transfer of fraudulent passports, documents, money and other items by, between and among EIJ members, and researched communications devices and helicopter piloting at the direction of EIJ leadership. Al-Dahab’s communication hub materially assisted in the perpetration of terrorist attacks in Egypt and Pakistan.

Additionally, al-Dahab admitted to recruiting Islamic Americans into the al-Qaeda terrorist organization during his 12-year residence in California. Al-Dahab told the investigators that Osama bin Laden was eager to recruit American citizens of Middle Eastern descent because their U.S. passports could be used to facilitate international travel by al Qaeda terrorists, and that bin Laden personally congratulated him for this work. Al-Dahab was naturalized as a U.S. citizen on Feb. 7, 1997. Upon departing the United States sometime in 1998, al-Dahab was arrested by Egyptian authorities. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for terrorism related offenses.

On April 8, 2015, the United States filed a civil action seeking the revocation of al-Dahab’s naturalized U.S. citizenship on the grounds that he illegally procured his citizenship on account of his false written statements and testimony during his naturalization proceedings regarding his current and past addresses; employment history; travel outside the United States; marital history; prior false testimony; prior claims of U.S. citizenship; commission of crimes for which he had not been arrested; and membership in or association with EIJ, as well as his affiliation with an organization that advocated terrorism. The United States also alleged al-Dahab should also be denaturalized because he procured his citizenship by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation due his concealment of these matters. The United States obtained the district court’s permission to serve the complaint on al-Dahab in Egypt via Facebook and electronic mail.

“The Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation – District Court Section will continue to pursue denaturalization proceedings against known or suspected terrorists who procured their citizenship by fraud,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The U.S. government is dedicated to strengthening the security of our nation and preventing the exploitation of our nation’s immigration system by those who would do harm to our country.”

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a naturalized U.S. citizen’s citizenship may be revoked, and his certificate of naturalization canceled, if the naturalization was illegally procured or procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.

This case was investigated by the Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section (OIL-DCS) and the FBI. The litigation was handled by Christopher W. Dempsey, Chief of the National Security and Affirmative Litigation Unit within OIL-DCS, with substantial assistance by FBI Special Agent Rami G. Nimri.