WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- According to a report from Politico magazine, the Obama White House prevented an investigation into the terrorist group Hezbollah and its drug- trafficking networks.
- The reason was that the Obama administration feared to upset Iran ahead of the nuclear deal.
- When the Iran nuke agreement took effect in January 2016, the Project Cassandra investigation was dismantled.
For almost a decade, the Drug Enforcement Administration had been working to bring down Hezbollah’s $1 billion-a-year drug ring, bringing money laundering and cocaine into the United States, Politico reported.
The DEA team’s efforts were undermined by the departments of Justice and Treasury repeatedly. Efforts to arrest and prosecute principal members of the Hezbollah network were prevented.
Last February, Former Treasury official Katherine Bauer admitted to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that “under the Obama administration. these [Hezbollah-related] investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.”
David Asher, an illicit finance expert who helped found the Project Cassandra said: “This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision. They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”
With the help of 30 American and foreign security agencies, the DEA task force worked on a top-secret facility in Virginia for eight years.
Politico also reported that late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez conspired with then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah in several activities like cocaine trafficking.
Conviasa, Venezuela’s state-run airline was flying drugs and cash in 2007 from Caracas to Tehran via Syria each week. DEA agents called the airline “Aeroterror.” because the planes would come back carrying weapons, along with Hezbollah and Iranian operatives.
The task force members said the Obama administration did not attempt to have two key players in the scheme extradited to the United States to face charges. The team sought to extradite Abdallah Safieddine, Hezbollah’s envoy to Tehran, and a shady operative nicknamed “Ghost.”
“Hezbollah operates like the Gambino crime family on steroids, and [Safieddine] is its John Gotti,” ex-DEA agent Jack Kelly told Politico. “Whatever Iran needs, Safieddine is in charge of getting it for them.” Kelly created the task force.
Safieddine was eventually linked to a huge money-laundering and drug-smuggling network reportedly led by Lebanese businessman Ayman Joumaa.
Joumaa had smuggled tons of cocaine into the U.S. then laundered $200 million a month by buying used cars. The cars were sent to Benin in West Africa. Satellite photos taken in 2015 showed numerous used cars in a lot.
Again, the Obama administration blocked attempts to prosecute Safieddine. Other administration officials implied those involved cannot see the bigger picture.
“The world is a lot more complicated than viewed through the narrow lens of drug trafficking,” one official said. “So you’re not going to let CIA rule the roost, but you’re also certainly not going to let DEA do it either.”
Source: NY Post