A former resident of Bergen County, New Jersey, today admitted that he conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey and Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel of the FBI’s Newark Division.
Nader Saadeh, 20, a former resident of Rutherford, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton of the District of New Jersey in Newark to an information charging him with one count of conspiring with others to provide material support to ISIL. He remains detained without bail.
“Nader Saadeh conspired with others, including his brother, to travel to Syria to join ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority and we will continue to hold accountable those who seek to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”
“Nader Saadeh is the last of the three defendants charged in the District of New Jersey in this case to admit his role in trying to provide material support to a known terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “ISIL is intent on threatening the safety of Americans here and abroad, and we and our law enforcement partners are just as intent on stopping them.”
“Today in the District Court of New Jersey Nader Saadeh admitted he conspired to provide material to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” said Special Agent in Charge Frankel. “He is one of three New Jersey men who conspired to travel overseas to join ISIL but were stopped by the outstanding work of the Newark FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. I ask the citizens of New Jersey to remain vigilant and contact the FBI if they see or hear something suspicious.”
According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court:
Saadeh admitted that prior to his arrest on Aug. 10, 2015, by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), he planned to travel overseas to join ISIL along with others. Saadeh discussed his plans to join ISIL with his brother, Alaa Saadeh, Samuel Rahamin Topaz, Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni, and admitted that at various times each of them indicated that they wanted to join ISIL. Saadeh also admitted that he and these other men watched ISIL-related videos, some of which depicted the execution of individuals – both Muslim and non-Muslim – regarded by ISIL as enemies.
On May 5, 2015, Saadeh departed the United States with plans to travel overseas to join ISIL in furtherance of the conspiracy, according to his statements in court today. Saadeh admitted that once he reached ISIL-controlled territory he intended to fight on behalf of ISIL. Saadeh further admitted that Saleh assisted him by giving him a contact who would facilitate his travel from Turkey to ISIL in Syria.
Saadeh admitted that prior to his departure from the United States, Saleh showed him technical drawings for making homemade bombs. Saadeh further told the court that Saleh and Mumuni discussed plans to carry out an attack in ISIL’s name using homemade bombs at locations in New York City, including Times Square, the World Trade Center and Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, in Queens, New York.
Saadeh admitted knowing that ISIL was a designated foreign terrorist organization and was taking over territory overseas, expelling non-Muslims from their homes and executing individuals who did not obey ISIL’s commands.
The count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for March 18, 2016.
Saadeh’s alleged conspirators are being prosecuted and are currently in federal custody. On Sept. 9 and Oct. 29, 2015, respectively, Topaz and Alaa Saadeh pleaded guilty before Judge Wigenton to conspiring to provide material support to ISIL. Saleh and Mumuni have been indicted on terrorism-related charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York. The charges and allegations against Saleh and Mumuni are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Fishman and Assistant Attorney General Carlin credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Frankel in Newark, and the JTTF with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. The JTTF is made up of agents and officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Paterson Police Department, and New York City Police Department, among other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys L. Judson Welle, Dennis C. Carletta and Francisco J. Navarro of the District of New Jersey, with assistance from Trial Attorney Robert Sander of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.