Jordan, DeSantis demand answers from DOJ regarding Obama’s shutdown of the Hezbollah drug ring to protect #IranDeal
Two members of the House Freedom Caucus fired off a letter Thursday to Attorney General Jefferson B. “Jeff” Session III requesting the details regarding President Barack Obama’s obstruction of a Drug Enforcement Agency investigations into Hezbollah drug trading in order to preserve his diplomatic rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Hezbollah is a brutal terrorist group and it would be unconscionable for American policy to deliberately empower such a nefarious organization,” Rep. Ronald D. DeSantis (R.-Fla.), the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommitteee on National Security.
“Allegations that the Obama administration purposefully undermined law enforcement efforts against Hezbollah in order to save the disastrous Iran Deal need to be swiftly and fully investigated by Congress,” said DeSantis, a drilling Navy Reserve lawyer and a graduate of the Yale University Law School.
Rep. James D. Jordan (R.-Ohio), the founding chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said, “The allegations that Obama’s DOJ possibly halted the wheels of justice for the sake of an illegal deal cementing his political legacy is both unnerving and unacceptable. We need answers.”
The letter comes on the heels of the outrage on Capitol Hill at the latest piece of evidence of how the Obama administration placed its fledging alliance with Iran above all other considerations and national priorities.
Although pieces of this story had been floating around the capital, it was all put together in a narrative Sunday by Politico reporter Josh Meyer.
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.
Eventually, DEA investigators would develop a dossier on Hezbollah that would include its money laundering operations through a massive used car operation in Africa and the tracked movements of Hezbollah agents conducting site inspections of military, national security and significant private targets inside the United States, Meyer reported.
Armed with this dossier, DEA official requested that the administration designate Hezbollah as a Transnational Criminal Organization, such as Brothers’ Circle, the Yamaguchi-gumi Syndicate and MS-13, but Meyer reported that the Obama administration shuffled the request through the bureaucracy, so that it was never approved.
More critically, Meyer quoted sources that detailed how the DEA leadership deliberately went public with its investigation with the public message that the Obama administration was getting tough on Hezbollah, but with practical effect ending the inquest and alerting Hezbollah to the undercover investigation and its vulnerabilities.
One of the people central to the story, Derek Maltz, who led Project Cassandra for the nine years before his 2014 retirement told Meyer he was upset about how everything went down.
“Turf battles, especially the institutional conflict between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, contributed to the demise of Project Cassandra,” he told Meyer. “But many Project Cassandra agents insist the main reason was a political choice to prioritize the Iranian nuclear agreement over efforts to crack down on Hezbollah.”