Federal officials are warning that Iranian backed terrorist “sleeper cells” are lurking in America, ready to strike at any moment.
According to a senior U.S. intelligence official, “there could be sleeper cells all over the place.” Three terrorists were captured since 2017 but there aren’t any guarantees the FBI got them all. Iran “didn’t get out of the targeting business,” the official warns.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is well aware that a single coded email would unleash terrorist infrastructure attacks “intended to cripple” U.S. cities. The death of Qassem Soleimani could trigger the message.
For at least ten years, Hezbollah maintained a secret network of hidden “sleeper agents” ready to “commit mass murder and wreak maximum chaos.” Everybody knows that Hezbollah is a front for Iran.
We learned from interrogating Ali Kourani, Samer El Debek, and Alexei Saab that the threat of a major attack is real. The FBI arrested Kourani and El Debek in 2017, Saab was arrested in July of 2019.
Kourani was an operative of Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization.
“As a sophisticated, well-trained IJO operative positioned under deep cover in the United States, the defendant was part of an emerging threat posed by the IJO in the Americas region.”
From the interrogations, the FBI learned there were certain events likely to trigger the call to action. “there would be certain scenarios that would require action or conduct by those who belonged to the cell.”
Ali Kourani told the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force that “the unit is Iranian controlled,” so he would expect “major U.S. military action against Hezbollah or its Iranian overseers” to trigger a response. “In those scenarios the sleeper cell would also be triggered into action.”
The unnamed intelligence official pointed out that hopefully the Iranian leadership will keep calm, but he isn’t holding his breath. “If the Iranians remain rational,” he notes, “they will refrain from mounting an attack on the American homeland for fear of sparking a war they cannot possibly win.”
That isn’t likely to happen. “If you remove the rational thinking…” he trails off. The official is convinced that it is a virtual certainty that Kourani and El Debek have already been replaced.
Kourani was based in Bronx, New York. El Debek was well concealed in Dearborn Michigan. Saab laid low in Morristown, New Jersey. According to the official they were told to stay undercover until they got a spam email “carrying a one-word coded command.” It would be from the IJO.
“These sleepers were tasked to maintain ostensibly normal lives but could be activated and tasked with conducting IJO operations.”
El Debek pleaded guilty and admitted spying on the Panama Canal and several possible New York targets. One was a federal building that has a “large daycare facility” with “exterior . . . playgrounds.”
According to federal prosecutors, “Saab focused on structural weaknesses of the locations he surveilled.” He told the FBI that he scoped out possible targets in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and other cities. He knew how to rig a briefcase to detonate when it was lifted off a table by the target.
“Among other information, SAAB focused on the materials used to construct a particular target, how close in proximity one could get to a target, and site weaknesses or ‘soft spots’ that the IJO could exploit if it attacked a location in the future.” That’s why “the photographs he took would focus on structural details such as the main joints, the towers, and the cables.”
Saab had special training for that too. “For photographs, Saab learned to position an unrelated subject as the focus point of the picture, with the true object of surveillance in the background. Saab would also often pose people in front of the intended objects of his surveillance, to provide perspective and shield his true purpose from law enforcement.”
In 2004, Saab went to Lebanon for a meeting with his handler. He gave a detailed report, which they’re still using.
“There, [the handler] told Saab to prepare a detailed guide to New York City. Over the course of the following two days, Saab wrote an approximately seven to 10 page report (the ‘Report’) on New York City. The first page of the Report was a hand-drawn map with specific locations annotated by number. The second page of the Report had a legend, which indicated how the numbers corresponded to locations. The rest of the Report had a detailed summary of each location.”
These locations included “Federal, state, and local government buildings, including 26 Federal Plaza…United Nations headquarters…The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island…Rockefeller Center…Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange..Times Square…The Empire State Building..Herald Square and Macy’s in Midtown…Local airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport…Local tunnels and bridges, including the Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Brooklyn Bridge, George Washington Bridge, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, and Goethals Bridge.”
With Soleimani dead, Americans need to be extra vigilant, especially since we know all about their New York Guide Book. The one listing all the “hot spots” a trendy terrorist should hit.