In their zeal to secure the Iran deal, the Obama administration prevented multiple federal agencies from thwarting Iranian-backed terrorist organizations. The Iran deal shields Iranian-backed terrorists from prosecution.
As the politics of the deal became more important than national security, the administration suspended a highly effective method of crippling Hezbollah, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations. The resulting disorder helped Hezbollah spread further in the Middle East and into South America.
Hezbollah: funded by the drug trade, determined to attack Western Civilization
In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. David Asher of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies spoke about the techniques used by federal law enforcement officers to deter Hezbollah attacks and expansion.
For over 30 years, Hezbollah has operated as a terrorist extension of the Iranian government. They receive backing, support, training, and supplies from Iran. In turn, Hezbollah attacks Iran’s enemies, which include Israel and the United States.
Consequently, the U.S. State Department calls Iran the top state-sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Hezbollah funds itself through support from Iran as well as drug trafficking. Instead of being just a terrorist organization, over the last decade, Hezbollah morphed into a transnational criminal terrorist resistance organization.
Hezbollah then spread into South and Central America to gain greater access to drugs and money laundering. The money and intelligence gained from Hezbollah’s criminal enterprise directly funds terrorism.
In 2006, Hezbollah rained down nearly 10,000 rockets on Israeli citizens. Now, with their combined drug money and support from Iran, they’re estimated to have 110,000 – 150,000 rockets pointed at Israeli civilians.
Hezbollah’s main headquarters in Lebanon give them a means to attack Israel. The South American drug trade gives Hezbollah a base from which to infiltrate the United States.
Federal agents had a plan to stop Hezbollah’s drugs-for-money program
Dr. Asher’s testimony revealed that the Feds developed a highly effective strategy to stop Hezbollah. Federal agents combined resources with routine criminal investigations to enhance anti-terrorism efforts. Specifically, federal agents:
- Pursued the drug traffickers and money launderers using criminal laws;
- Pursued banks that openly served Hezbollah-linked agents – freezing accounts, money, and assets;
- Seized property, money, and assets linked to Hezbollah terrorist cells; and
- Used RICO lawsuits to take out low and mid-level operatives to hang the entire organization.
As Hezbollah transitioned into a drug and money laundering cartel, federal agents realized that they had all the resources necessary to attack Hezbollah. By combining knowledge, experience, and resources between drug and terrorism task forces, the U.S. government developed a powerful and effective strategy for combating Iranian-supported terrorism.
The Obama Administration ditched the anti-Hezbollah plan for the Iran deal
Unfortunately, the anti-Hezbollah strategy died with the emergence of the Iran Deal, as Dr. Asher testified:
Senior leadership … systematically disbanded any internal or external stakeholder action that threatened to derail the administration’s policy agenda focused on Iran. Top law enforcement officers working Hezbollah, Iran, and Venezuela cases were reassigned from key investigative units and moved to peripheral assignments. Several top cops retired. Frankly, it was a mix of tragedy and travesty combined with a seriously misguided turn of policy that resulted in no real strategic gain and a serious miscarriage of justice.
In order to keep the Iranians happy and dissuade them from leaving the negotiating table, the Obama administration systematically began dismantling the anti-Iranian terrorist task forces in the U.S. Government. In other words, the U.S. Government purposely turned a blind eye to any criminal enterprises conducted by Iran-linked organizations all in support of the Iran Deal.
Not only did the Obama administration dismantle law enforcement’s tools and strategies, they also shielded Hezbollah and Iran operations from prosecution, according to Dr. Asher:
The result is that criminal states and criminal terrorist organizations continue to benefit from a type of implicit immunity from prosecution. Neither al-Qaeda nor Hezbollah has ever been organizationally prosecuted for repeatedly attacking the United States, killing our citizens, and for being tied to a wide number of trans-national organized crimes in violation of our laws. The same is true with the Islamic State.
The trickle-down effect from the Iran Deal has not only protected Hezbollah but also al-Qaeda and ISIS. The Obama administration chose to disarm just at the time terrorist organizations began getting stronger.
Perhaps worst of all, Dr. Asher said:
I have even heard statements of fear of reprisal should these terrorists be prosecuted from top DOJ officials as well as senior law enforcement agency leaders and intelligence analysts.
Dr. Asher is not speaking from 20/20 hindsight. He warned the Obama administration in 2011 that it was neglecting the usefulness of federal law enforcement. The Iran Deal was more important to the Obama administration.
President Trump must empower law enforcement to stop terrorism
Fortunately for the Trump administration, the solution to this mess is straightforward. Federal agencies should be allowed to piece back together these task-forces and begin prosecuting terrorists.
The U.S. government has the tools necessary to combat Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations by using normal criminal law along with anti-terrorism statutes. Combining laws and forces allows the U.S. to hit them much harder than just charging them with terrorism.
Taking these steps will help ensure a safer world and staunch the spread of international terrorism.
You can listen to the House hearing on “Attacking Hezbollah’s Financial Network” at this link.