A confessed Al Qaeda operative who says he was personally congratulated by Usama bin Laden and ran a communications hub with the terror group from his California home had his U.S. citizenship revoked by a federal judge Thursday, according to the Department of Justice.
The Egyptian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen and former Silicon Valley car salesman, Khaled Abu al-Dahab, was ordered to immediately surrender his Certificate of Naturalization to federal authorities, stripping him of his citizenship, and was “restrained” from claiming any rights, privileges or advantages of U.S. citizenship.
“The Justice Department is committed to the protection our nation’s national security and will aggressively pursue denaturalization of known or suspected terrorists,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “This case demonstrates the Department’s commitment to using all tools at its disposal, both criminally and civilly, to strategically enforce our nation’s immigration laws and to disrupt international terrorism.”
Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered the order revoking al-Dahab’s citizenship. The move followed a 2015 civil action filed by the U.S. seeking the revocation on the grounds that he “illegally procured his citizenship” based on false testimony during his naturalization proceedings.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a naturalized U.S. person can lose his or her citizenship if the naturalization was “illegally procured or procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.”
Al-Dahab was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in February 1997 but left the country the following year and was arrested by Egyptian authorities. He is currently serving a 15-year prison term in Egypt for terrorism-related offenses.
Al-Dahab admitted to recruiting Islamic Americans into Al Qaeda during his 12-year residence in California and told investigators that Usama bin Laden was eager to recruit American citizens of Middle Eastern descent because their U.S. passports could be used to facilitate international travel by Al Qaeda terrorists. Al-Dahab told investigators that the 9/11 mastermind “personally congratulated him for his work.”
In addition to his work for Al Qaeda, al-Dahab told the FBI that he operated a communications hub for terrorist organization Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) out of his Santa Clara, Calif., apartment, where he materially assisted in terrorist attacks in Egypt and Pakistan by facilitating the transfer of fraudulent passports, documents, money and other items among EIJ members.
According to the DOJ, al-Dahab told officials that he attended a training camp near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he received military-style training and taught foreign fighters preparing for terrorist attacks.
“We will protect our national security and our borders,” Sessions said. “And when we identify individuals tied to foreign terrorist organizations who procured 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.”
Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.