Adham Amin Hassoun, a Palestinian national living in the United States, has been charged with seven charges stemming from a scheme to conceal from federal officials his activities in recruiting fighters and raising money to support global jihad.
The charges were announced by Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Specifically, the Indictment charges Hassoun with one count of making false statements to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001; five counts of perjury during his immigration detention hearing, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1621(1); and one count of attempted obstruction of justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1505. Hassoun had previously been indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm by a nonimmigrant alien, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(5)(B). If convicted, Hassoun faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment on the firearm charge and five years’ imprisonment on each of the false statement, perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Hassoun will be arraigned on the new charges before a Magistrate Judge in West Palm Beach.
As set forth in the indictment, Hassoun, when questioned about his activities in recruiting and funding for jihad activities, provided materially false statements to DHS and FBI agents as well as the Immigration Judge conducting Hassoun’s immigration proceedings. For instance, the indictment alleges that the defendant perjured himself concerning the recruitment, funding and foreign travel of an individual for the purpose of fighting in a jihad. The indictment also alleges that the defendant perjured himself when asked if he spoke in coded language while discussing jihad activities. The indictment further alleges that the defendant falsely testified that he did not participate in conversations about killing a woman in Lebanon.
“The government’s efforts to protect national security, through immigration proceedings and investigations of possible terrorist activity, rely heavily on securing truthful, reliable information,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft. “Those who lie under oath or seek to obstruct these important proceedings, as Mr. Hassoun allegedly did, impair our ability to protect the nation and win the war on terror, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mr. Jiménez stated, “The fight against terrorism is the foremost priority of the Department of Justice and my office is committed to ensuring the integrity of our investigations as we carry out that directive. In order to protect the public, we need the truthful cooperation of individuals questioned by law enforcement. We will pursue any interference with the truth-finding process.”
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Russell R. Killinger and Brian K. Frazier and Trial Attorney Stephanie K. Pell of the Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section.