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Man who ran Silicon Valley hub for Al Qaeda terror operatives has U.S. citizenship revoked

A Silicon Valley man who ran an Al Qaeda communications hub from his Santa Clara apartment has had his U.S. citizenship revoked by a federal judge.

Khaled Abu Dahab, 57, an Egyptian-born naturalized U.S. citizen and former Silicon Valley car salesman, was arrested in 1998 on terrorism charges in Cairo and confessed to being a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, an Al Qaeda affiliate, with ties to Osama bin Laden.

Dahab admitted to U.S. investigators he recruited Americans into the Al Qaeda terrorist organization during his 12 years in California. Dahab, who is serving 15 years in an Egyptian prison, according to authorities, was once congratulated by Bin Laden for his work recruiting in the U.S.

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday entered an order that revoked Dahab’s naturalized U.S. citizenship, enjoined him from claiming any rights of U.S. citizenship and ordered him to immediately surrender his certificate of naturalization to federal authorities, Justice Department officials said.

“The Justice Department is committed to protecting our nation’s national security and will aggressively pursue denaturalization of known or suspected terrorists,” Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said in a statement announcing the move.

The judge’s decision was a culmination of a civil action filed in 2015 by U.S. authorities seeking the revocation of Dahab’s U.S. citizenship on the grounds that he repeatedly lied during his naturalization proceedings and concealed material fact or made willful misrepresentation.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a naturalized U.S. citizen’s citizenship may be revoked, and his or her certificate of naturalization canceled, if the naturalization was illegally procured or procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.

Dahab was naturalized as a U.S. citizen on Feb. 7, 1997. But about a year later, he was arrested by Egyptian authorities and subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to prison for terrorism-related offenses.

According to investigators, Dahab admitted to attending a training camp near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he received military-style training and taught foreign fighters to fly hang gliders for terrorist attacks. Dahab assisted in a number of terrorist attacks in Egypt and Pakistan, according to documents in the case.

During interviews, he told FBI agents that he operated a communications hub for terror operatives out of his Santa Clara home. In court documents, prosecutors alleged he “facilitated” fraudulent passports and documents and provided money and other items to known terrorists. In addition, the documents charge he researched communications devices and helicopter piloting.

richard.winton@latimes.com

Twitter: @lacrimes


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