Obama shut down criminal investigations into Hezb'allah to get Iran nuke deal

This is an extraordinary story that, in another universe, would rip the country apart.  This is probably why it has been buried and will continue to be ignored.

In order to get Iran to agree to President Obama's precious nuclear deal, the U.S. government scotched several investigations into criminal activities by the terrorist group Hezb'allah.  The drug-trafficking, money-laundering, gun-running, and other criminal enterprises engaged in by Hezb'allah were being tracked by the U.S. government during President Obama's first term.  Law enforcement agencies were investigating a trail of crime from the Middle East to Africa and to South America.

But as law enforcement closed in on the ringleaders and the various criminal networks that constituted Hezb'allah's far flung operations, the Obama administration began to throw up roadblocks, rejected plans to halt the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. by the terrorists, and gave a free pass to Hezb'allah leaders – all in order to get Iran to agree to the nuclear deal.

This Politico story is worth reading in its entirety.  It is the first part of a three-part exposé that tells the incredible story of how the drive to cement Obama's legacy with the Iranian nuclear deal impacted not only law enforcement, but also U.S. intelligence operations against a terrorist group that is a primary threat against our citizens.

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.

This really jumped off the page for me.  In May 2010, John Brennan, who at the time was a White House aide and would later go on to run the CIA, gave a shocking assessment of Hezb'allah at a Washington conference. 

"Hezbollah is a very interesting organization," Brennan told a Washington conference, saying it had evolved from "purely a terrorist organization" to a militia and, ultimately, a political party with representatives in the Lebanese Parliament and Cabinet, according to a Reuters report.

"There is certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern to us what they're doing," Brennan said. "And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements."

"Moderate elements" in Hezb'allah?  Every man-jack in Hezb'allah – regardless of whether they run medical centers, staff food banks for the poor, or serve in the Lebanese parliament – fully supports the terrorist activities of the organization against Israel and the West.  Any "moderate" member of Hezb'allah who spoke against Sheikh Nasrallah's vision of destroying Israel and the West would end up with a bullet in his head.  To believe that there are "moderate" elements in Hezb'allah is naïve, dangerous, and idiotic. 

And Brennan was considered one of the Obama administration "stars" on international affairs.

The thrust of this long, complex story is that a president of the United States sacrificed vital national security goals, allowed hundreds of tons of cocaine to flow into the U.S., and actually tried to interfere with law enforcement who were looking to shut down an international terrorist organization whose criminal activities were financing the killing of Jews and Westerners.

And he did it so history would think kindly of him.

This is an extraordinary story that, in another universe, would rip the country apart.  This is probably why it has been buried and will continue to be ignored.

In order to get Iran to agree to President Obama's precious nuclear deal, the U.S. government scotched several investigations into criminal activities by the terrorist group Hezb'allah.  The drug-trafficking, money-laundering, gun-running, and other criminal enterprises engaged in by Hezb'allah were being tracked by the U.S. government during President Obama's first term.  Law enforcement agencies were investigating a trail of crime from the Middle East to Africa and to South America.

But as law enforcement closed in on the ringleaders and the various criminal networks that constituted Hezb'allah's far flung operations, the Obama administration began to throw up roadblocks, rejected plans to halt the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. by the terrorists, and gave a free pass to Hezb'allah leaders – all in order to get Iran to agree to the nuclear deal.

This Politico story is worth reading in its entirety.  It is the first part of a three-part exposé that tells the incredible story of how the drive to cement Obama's legacy with the Iranian nuclear deal impacted not only law enforcement, but also U.S. intelligence operations against a terrorist group that is a primary threat against our citizens.

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.

This really jumped off the page for me.  In May 2010, John Brennan, who at the time was a White House aide and would later go on to run the CIA, gave a shocking assessment of Hezb'allah at a Washington conference. 

"Hezbollah is a very interesting organization," Brennan told a Washington conference, saying it had evolved from "purely a terrorist organization" to a militia and, ultimately, a political party with representatives in the Lebanese Parliament and Cabinet, according to a Reuters report.

"There is certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern to us what they're doing," Brennan said. "And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements."

"Moderate elements" in Hezb'allah?  Every man-jack in Hezb'allah – regardless of whether they run medical centers, staff food banks for the poor, or serve in the Lebanese parliament – fully supports the terrorist activities of the organization against Israel and the West.  Any "moderate" member of Hezb'allah who spoke against Sheikh Nasrallah's vision of destroying Israel and the West would end up with a bullet in his head.  To believe that there are "moderate" elements in Hezb'allah is naïve, dangerous, and idiotic. 

And Brennan was considered one of the Obama administration "stars" on international affairs.

The thrust of this long, complex story is that a president of the United States sacrificed vital national security goals, allowed hundreds of tons of cocaine to flow into the U.S., and actually tried to interfere with law enforcement who were looking to shut down an international terrorist organization whose criminal activities were financing the killing of Jews and Westerners.

And he did it so history would think kindly of him.