The Obama administration has been accused of protecting Hezbollah drug and human trafficking rings to help ensure the nuclear deal with Iran was achieved, according to a bombshell report by POLITICO‘s Josh Meyer.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and other lawmakers are examining ‘potentially criminal’ evidence that could implicate former top Obama officials, including NatSec official Ben Rhodes, TGP reports.
POLITICO previously reported:
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.
“If we had gotten our hands on either of them, we could have taken down the entire network.”
— said Kelly, the supervisory DEA agent and lead coordinator of its Hezbollah cases, on the extradition of a top Venezuelan official and a drug kingpin.
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.
TGP’s Josh Caplan previously reported:
“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, seasoned illicit finance expert who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra as a Defense Department illicit finance analyst.
“They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”
The Obama administration is believed to have deliberately put the kibosh on charging numerous drug dealers and arms dealing, such as Hezbollah operative nicknamed the ‘Ghost,’ and Abdallah Safieddine, the terrorist organization’s de facto envoy to Iran. All the while both Hezbollah and Iran made massive sums selling “drugs, weapons and used cars, [along with] diamonds, commercial merchandise and even human slaves,” say ex-Project Cassandra agents.
According to Meyer, Project Cassandra’s finding were so damning that the Obama administration believed they threatened fragile nuclear negotiations with Iran.
They said senior Obama administration officials appeared to be alarmed by how far Project Cassandra’s investigations had reached into the leadership of Hezbollah and Iran, and wary of the possible political repercussions.
As a result, task force members claim, Project Cassandra was increasingly viewed as a threat to the administration’s efforts to secure a nuclear deal, and the top-secret prisoner swap that was about to be negotiated.
“During the negotiations, early on, they [the Iranians] said listen, we need you to lay off Hezbollah, to tamp down the pressure on them, and the Obama administration acquiesced to that request,” a former CIA agent revealed to POLITICO.
With the operation largely neutered due to the Iran deal, Asher had no choice but to bring many of his findings public before a congressional hearing in May 2015.
Shortly after the Iran deal was signed, U.S. and EU law enforcement officers arrested a network of Hezbollah in France.
Republican Lawmakers are launching an investigation into an Obama-era scheme to protect Hezbollah terrorists from a U.S. investigation into a drug and human trafficking ring to appease Iran.
Congress is now taking steps to formally investigate the reports, which multiple sources described to the Free Beacon as part of a larger Obama administration effort to overlook Iran’s global terror operations in order to cement the nuclear deal.
“I’ve long believed that the Obama administration could not have done any more to bend over backwards to appease the Iranian regime, yet news that the Obama administration killed the investigation into a billion dollar drug ring that lined the terrorist group Hezbollah’s pockets in order to save its coveted Iran deal may very well take the cake,” DeSantis said.
“Hezbollah is a brutal terrorist group with American blood on its hands and it would be unconscionable for American policy to deliberately empower such a nefarious group,” he said.
“Congress will be investigating this thoroughly and my National Security subcommittee will be particularly interested in how such a decision came about and whether it was driven by key Iran deal architects such as Ben Rhodes,” DeSantis said.
Read the full report by Adam Kredo here.
Adam Kredo: Senior Writer, Foreign Policy & National Security for the Washington Free Beacon
BIG BREAKING: Congress to Investigate 'Potentially Criminal' Obama-Era Scheme to Nix Investigation into Hezbollah Terrorists, Iran https://t.co/QdwNGpZgCi
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) December 20, 2017