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Terrorist who lied to get U.S. citizenship sentenced to prison, will be deported after

They said he 'slipped through the cracks'

Alex Wong/Getty Images

A convicted terrorist who was able to lie his way to U.S. citizenship has been sentenced to prison and will be deported afterward, according to CNN.

Vallmoe Shqaire, 51, became a U.S. citizen in 2008, even after doing time in Israeli prison for attempting to blow up a bus as a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Shqaire had been recruited by the PLO in the 1980s and attempted the bus attack in 1998. It failed, and no one was hurt, but Shqaire still did four years in prison in Israel.

When he got to the U.S., Shqaire lied and did not disclose his arrest and the connection to the PLO, and according to officials he "slipped through the cracks" and was able to gain citizenship.

This week, he was sentenced to nine months in federal prison and will be stripped of his citizenship and deported to Jordan once his sentence is complete. He said he is sorry for his past and that he loves the United States.

The judge seemed sympathetic to Shqaire's situation, saying he didn't view Shqaire as a terrorist after so much time had passed since his "despicable" acts in Israel.

Shqaire has been in the U.S. nearly 20 years, and has spent time working as a parking attendant. His defense attorney fought back against a portrayal of him as a dangerous terrorist.

"He didn't try to start a sleeper cell for al Qaeda," said attorney Mark Werksman.

Assistant US Attorney Annamartine Salick said that the communication between the two nations was not where it is today, and there were significant issues sorting through hard records that had been damaged that would have revealed Shqaire's criminal past.

Once Shqaire got his citizenship, even after U.S. officials found out he had been convicted of terrorism, U.S. legal protections for citizens made it difficult to prove he had lied to obtain that citizenship.

He now has until May 28 to surrender to authorities and begin his sentence.

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