A West New York, New Jersey, man today admitted that he
conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The announcement was made by 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, New Jersey, Division.
Alaa Saadeh, 24, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge
Susan D. Wigenton of the District of New Jersey to an information charging him
with one count of conspiring with others to provide material support to
ISIL. He remains detained without bail.
“Saadeh conspired with his brother and others to travel
overseas to join ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “The National Security Division’s highest
priority is counterterrorism and we will continue to pursue justice against
those who seek to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist
“Alaa Saadeh is the second defendant in this case who has
admitted trying to provide material support to a known terrorist organization,”
said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “That
organization, and others who share its goals, are intent on recruiting people
in this country and around the world to join their campaign against our
security. The fight against these kinds
of groups is going on around the world, but is also being waged here at
home. They are intent on threatening the
safety of Americans here and abroad, and we and our law enforcement partners
are intent on stopping them.”
“Today in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey Alaa Saadeh
admitted he planned to travel to Syria to join ISIL along with others,” said
Special Agent in Charge Frankel. “Now,
thanks to the efforts of Newark FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Saadeh will
go to prison rather than take up arms overseas.”
According to documents filed in this and related cases and
statements made in court:
Saadeh admitted that prior to his arrest on June 29, 2015,
he planned to travel overseas to join ISIL along with others. Saadeh discussed the plans to join ISIL with
his brother, Nader Saadeh, Samuel Rahamin Topaz and Munther Omar Saleh, and
told the judge today that each of them indicated that they wanted to join ISIL
at various times. Saadeh also admitted
that he watched ISIL-related videos with Nader Saadeh and Topaz, some of which
depicted the execution of individuals – both Muslim and non-Muslim – regarded
by ISIL as enemies.
On May 5, 2015, Nader Saadeh, departed the United States
with plans to travel overseas to join ISIL as part of the conspiracy, according
to Saadeh’s statements in court today.
Saadeh further admitted assisting Nader Saadeh with these plans by
letting him purchase airline tickets using Saadeh’s credit card, removing the
SIM card from Nader’s smartphone and resetting the smartphone in an effort to
avoid detection. Saadeh admitted that
Saleh assisted Nader Saadeh by giving him a contact that would facilitate
Nader’s travel from Turkey to ISIL in Syria.
Saadeh further admitted that after his brother left the United States,
Saleh and Topaz intended to travel overseas to join ISIL. After becoming aware that the FBI was
investigating this matter, Saadeh instructed an individual who knew of Nader
Saadeh’s support for ISIL to lie if questioned by the FBI on the subject. Saadeh further admitted telling this
individual to “just play stupid,” “pretend it never happened” and “keep it
honest up to a point.”
Saadeh admitted to knowing that ISIL was a designated
terrorist organization and was taking over territory overseas, expelling
non-Muslims from their homes and executing individuals who did not obey ISIL’s
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 Feb. 16, 2016.
Saadeh’s alleged co-conspirators are being prosecuted and
are currently in federal custody. On
Sept. 9, 2015, Topaz pleaded guilty before Judge Wigenton to conspiring to
provide material support to ISIL. Nader
Saadeh has been charged in a criminal complaint with conspiring to provide
material support to ISIL, among other charges.
Saleh has been indicted on terrorism-related charges in the Eastern
District of New York. The charges and
allegations against Nader Saadeh and Saleh are merely accusations, and they are
presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin and U.S. Attorney Fishman
credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Division, under the direction of
Special Agent in Charge Frankel, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force with the
investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The case is being prosecuted 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.