The Obama administration's Hezbollah cave-in
From Politico, we get a flabbergasting story about how the Obama administration scuttled an on-going law enforcement effort code named "Project Cassandra"because it threatened the Administration's pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran. The lengthy piece lays out, in detail, how all this occured. Here is a sample:
The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.
Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.
They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.
But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.
The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.
There is much more at the link, including damning documentation of obstruction by top Obama officials who were intent on getting a deal with Iran. The result:
The administration’s eagerness for an Iran deal was broadcast through so many channels, task force members say, that political appointees and career officials at key agencies like Justice, State and the National Security Council felt unspoken pressure to view the task force’s efforts with skepticism. One former senior Justice Department official confirmed to POLITICO that some adverse decisions might have been influenced by an informal multi-agency Iran working group that “assessed the potential impact” of criminal investigations and prosecutions on the nuclear negotiations.
We encourage you to read the whole thing, including this:
Once the Obama administration left office, in January 2017, the logjam of task force cases appeared to break, and several task force members said it wasn’t a coincidence.
An alleged top financier for Hezbollah, whose global business empire allegedly acted as a key source of funds for its global terror network., was arrested in Morocco — seven years after Treasury officials blacklisted him as a sponsor of terror — and flown to Washington to stand trial. Asher said task force agents had kept his case under wraps, hoping for a better outcome in whatever administration succeeded Obama’s.
Venezuelan vice president involved in alleged decade-long drugs, weapons and fake passport conspiracy between Caracas government, Hezbollah and Iran. as a global narcotics kingpin, almost a decade after DEA agents became convinced he was Hezbollah’s point man within the Chavez, and then Maduro, regimes.