The following is a news analysis
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]olitico recently published a lengthy investigative report by Josh Meyer about the terrorist group Hezbollah, its criminal fundraising activities in the U.S., and alleged Obama administration efforts to slow or block law enforcement actions against Hezbollah. For those who don’t have time to read the entire article, here’s a summary:
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) launched a task force in 2008 called “Project Cassandra” to crack down on Hezbollah. This was based on evidence that the terrorist group was raising $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities, sometimes in U.S. Because the U.S. failed to act in some cases, Hezbollah was left freer to attack U.S. interests in Iraq, Syria, Latin America and Africa; and it continues to move cocaine, weapons and money through the U.S. for terrorism purposes. Former Obama officials John Brennan and Lisa Monaco were cited as being among those who allegedly stood in the way of taking action against Hezbollah or wanted to cultivate a productive relationship with the terrorist organization.
Who is Hezbollah?
Hezbollah is an anti-U.S., anti-Israel Islamic terrorist organization aligned with Iran and blamed for the 1983 vehicle bombings of the U.S. embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 that murdered hundreds of Americans. In 1985, Hezbollah called for the “obliteration” of Israel and said it considers the U.S. and the Soviet Union to be Islam’s number one enemies.
Who are sources for the Politico article?
Among the sources cited in the Politico article: Obama-era Treasury official Katherine Bauer and former top Treasury financial intelligence official and FBI analyst Matthew Levitt. On-the-record interviews included Pentagon official David Asher, who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra; veteran DEA Supervisory Agent Jack Kelly, who named and led the Project Cassandra task force; Derek Maltz, who headed DEA’s Special Operations Division; and DEA Deputy Administrator Jack Riley.
What do some Obama officials say in response to the Politico article?
Obama officials have argued that the Politico story was “thinly-sourced,” and have pointed to actions the Obama administration did take against Hezbollah as proof that there was no organized conspiracy to go soft on the terrorist group. Former Obama official Ben Rhodes tweeted: “There is boundless irony and hypocrisy in how much people who love to sneer at ‘echo chambers’ live entirely inside a perpetual right wing echo chamber of non-fact based anti Iran Deal propaganda.”
It’s difficult to argue that left-leaning Politico and its sources for the article (who worked under the Obama administration) are part of a conspiratorial right wing echo chamber. Some of those interviewed in the article may indeed oppose the secretive deal the Obama administration forged with Iran, which is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and included the U.S. transfer of $1.7 billion to Iran, but that was not specifically addressed in the article.
Read the entire Politico report here.[hr]