WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge has revoked the naturalized U.S. citizenship of a confessed al-Qaeda operative who at one point ran a communications hub for an affiliated terrorist organization out of his Santa Clara apartment, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Khaled Abu al-Dahab, 57, a native of Egypt who moved to the U.S. in 1986, made “materially false written statements” to obtain naturalization, prosecutors argued in a motion for summary judgment, which U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell granted Thursday.
For example, al-Dahab said in an application in 1996 that he had not traveled outside the U.S. since 1989. However, in 1991, he spent two months at a camp near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he received “military-style training” and taught foreign fighters to fly hang gliders in preparation for terrorist attacks, according to court documents.
Al-Dahab also concealed that he ran a communications hub for Egyptian Islamic Jihad operatives out of his Santa Clara apartment from 1990 to 1995. The group, which merged with al-Qaeda in 2001, played a key role in the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1991 and 2001.
During the 12 years he lived in California, al-Dahab also recruited Islamic Americans for al-Qaeda, according to prosecutors. He reportedly told FBI agents that Osama bin Laden, the group’s now-deceased leader, personally congratulated him for his work.
Those actions, as well as others documented by prosecutors, would have precluded al-Dahab from being naturalized.
Al-Dahab left the United States in 1998. That same year, he was arrested by Egyptian authorities and was tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for terrorism-related offenses, according to prosecutors. He now lives in Alexandria, Egypt.
“We will protect our national security and our borders,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “and when we identify individuals tied to foreign terrorist organizations who procure 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.”