The Department of Justice today announced the arrests of Specially Designated Nationals (SNDs), Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) and their members associated with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
According to court records, the United States registered five domains in the Public Interest Registry (PIR) — moqawama.org, almanarnews.org, manarnews.org, almanar-tv.org and alshahid.org — and obtained court approval to seize eight. For Verisign Inc. Registered domains – manartv.net, manarnews.net, almanar-tv.com, almanar-tv.net, alidaamouch.com, Ibrahim-alsayed.net, alemdad.net and naimkassem.net.
“Today’s cyberattacks deny terrorist organizations and their affiliates a significant source of support, and we will not allow these groups to use American infrastructure to terrorize the American people,” said Matthew G. Olsen, assistant general of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to enforce economic sanctions, which will continue our commitment to protect all available weapons from hostile states and terrorist actors.”
U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber told EDVA. “The domains seized in this action are controlled by individuals and entities engaged in planning or carrying out acts of terrorism against Americans and are therefore not legally permitted to use US infrastructure. Such activities hinder terrorist activity by blocking the avenues these groups and individuals use to mobilize support and influence.
“This raid shows the FBI is using all of our tools to hold terrorists and their associates accountable when they violate US law,” said Robert R. Wells, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “The FBI, along with our international partners, will continue to seek out and bring to justice individuals who contribute to the growth of the nefarious activities of Hezbollah in Lebanon, no matter where or how they try to hide.”
“These court-authorized domain raids reflect the FBI’s efforts to fight terrorism,” said Kerry Farley, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta field office. “Along with our federal and international partners, the FBI is focused on proactively disrupting the web. Domains Controlled by Specially Designated Nationals – Those who attempt to achieve the goals of foreign terrorist organizations by illegally exploiting US infrastructure and wreaking deadly violence against the United States and our allies.
“Today’s strike reduces Hezbollah’s ability to move its dangerous violent ideology around the world,” said Matthew S. Axelrod said. This coordinated enforcement action demonstrates that the US government will creatively use all enforcement tools available to thwart those seeking to commit acts of terrorism.
Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEPA), SDNs and SDGTs such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Al Manar TV, Ali Damoush, Ibrahim Al Said, Islamic Charity Amdad Committee, Martyrs Foundation of Lebanon, Naim Qassim and their members. ) may not acquire services, including website and domain services, in the United States without permission. No such license was obtained for any of the 13 domains seized.
Additionally, these 13 domains may be held as the property of entities and organizations engaged in planning or committing acts of terrorism against the United States, its citizens and residents, and their assets. These domains have a source of influence over those entities and organizations. The seizure of these domains cuts off that source of support and influence.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Kerry Farley of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Duane E. Townsend, the Commerce Department’s Office of Export Enforcement, announced.
The FBI and the Commerce Department investigated the matter.
United States Attorneys David A. Peters and Laura D. Wiers of the Eastern District of Virginia are representing the government in these cases, with significant assistance provided by the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
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