Hezbollah is operating here in the United States and throughout the world. The Iranian terror organization is heavily engaged in drug crimes, trafficking and other crimes, to fund their worldwide terrorist activities. The last administration did not bring the criminals to justice and the former head of Project Cassandra is sounding the alarm now but will anyone listen?
The retired head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special-operations division said on Wednesday the Obama administration had the opportunity to dismantle Hezbollah with evidence collected under Project Cassandra. They clearly chose not to do so. At the same time, the Iran nuclear deal was being negotiated and, while it has been put forward as the reason for not following through, Mr. Derek Maltz, who headed this project, wants to only look forward.
In the end, the Obama administration didn’t or wouldn’t do it and Hezbollah continues their illegal cartel operations throughout the world and in the United States because, in part, the various agencies do not work together.
Mr. Maltz urged the House to resolve this, to up the sanctions, and implement robust law enforcement prosecutions. Those prosecutions have not taken place over the past nearly nine years.
Derek Maltz, who was in charge of the major law enforcement operation targeting Hezbollah’s trafficking of cocaine, said the United States cannot again succumb to political distractions that allow the Iranian-backed terrorist group to continue its lucrative narcoterrorism campaign.
“There’s an old saying, opportunities come and go,” Maltz testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “In my personal opinion, having been the guy in charge of the special operations for ten years, we lost a gold opportunity to crush Hezbollah.”
Politico in December first reported the Obama administration’s quiet dismantling of these efforts, dubbed Project Cassandra, out of apprehension over rattling Iran. He based his conclusions on his interviews with key players.
The article written by Josh Meyer tied the motivation of the Obama administration to pursue a nuclear deal to the abandonment of the Hezbollah drug trafficking network.
Mr. Maltz was quoted in the article as saying, “There is certainly an argument to be made that if tomorrow all the agencies were ordered to come together and sit in a room and put all the evidence on the table against all these bad guys, that there could be a hell of a lot of indictments,” Maltz told Politico.
Hezbollah continues to make extraordinary sums of money with their illegal operations as a transnational criminal organization, Mr. Maltz said again on Wednesday and repeated his sentiments about one reason for it — we do not share information among agencies.
“Sadly, 16 years after 9/11, we’re still talking about information sharing. It’s a disaster,” he testified. “If terrorists are turning to criminal networks for their funding, how can we have a system where the terrorist investigators and the intelligence community and others are not communicating properly with the law enforcement agencies?”
He said the Trump administration needs to name those agents who in the U.S. government will be responsible for bringing together federal, state, and local agencies under an interagency task force to combat narcoterrorism.
Featured Photo cane be found at Wikimedia Commons and shows the Hizbollah Secretary General and his delegation meeting with Supreme Leader Khamenei. See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0) or CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.