The Obama administration was allegedly so intent on concluding the Iran nuclear deal that it short-circuited a secret DEA-led task force investigation into a global drug trafficking operation by Hezbollah, a group officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
The Iran deal is considered one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration launched “Operation Cassandra” in 2008 to probe Hezbollah’s drug-smuggling networks throughout the world, a comprehensive report published by Politico explained, but ran into obstacles from the federal bureaucracy.
“In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an in ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation…But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way…”
Congress now plans to investigate whether the Obama administration turned a blind eye to Hezbollah drug smuggling as a concession to Iran, the Washington Free Beacon noted. “Cassandra investigators discovered that Hezbollah was laundering $200 million of dirty money into the United States per month and smuggling in 85 tons of cocaine, but before they could make a case against Hezbollah’s highest tier, Obama officials intervened, according to interviews Politico conducted with dozens of participants,” the Beacon summarized.
Politico claims that there might even be some Russian collusion involved in connection with an alleged Lebanese arms dealer and suspected Hezbollah operative.
“[The operative] whom agents believed reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a key supplier of weapons to Syria and Iraq, was arrested in Prague in the spring of 2014. But for the nearly two years [he] was in custody, top Obama administration officials declined to apply serious pressure on the Czech government to extradite him to the United States, even as Putin was lobbying aggressively against it.”
By undermining #projectcassandra, the Obama administration helped allow the Hezbollah criminal enterprise to evolve into a major global security threat that bankrolls its terrorist and military operations https://t.co/HxLOuW3j3w via @JoshMeyerDC pic.twitter.com/3bVEctkkJN— POLITICO (@politico) December 18, 2017
Among other activities, Iran-sponsored Hezbollah engaged in money laundering by buying used cars in America and sending them to Africa. With tentacles all over the world, Hezbollah is also implicated in gun-running in Africa as well as human slavery, the liberal-leaning website added. Hezbollah supposedly banks $1 billion each year from a combination of drug/weapons trafficking, money laundering, and other forms of wrongdoing.
One Obama appointee told a U.S. House committee in February of 2017 that the administration “tamped down” the Project Cassandra investigation “for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.” Other former Obama officials disagree that politics were in play, however. An official who worked on Project Cassandra insisted nonetheless that blocking the probe was a top-down policy decision.
“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,” claimed an ex-CIA officer, according to Politico.
Pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran nuclear deal is officially known, the U.S., the EU, and the United Nations lifted economic sanctions against Iran in January of 2016 in exchange for its promise to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Iran has continued developing long-range missiles, however. The Obama administration also transferred $1.7 billion in cash as part of the agreement, the Los Angeles Times reported last year.
On October 31, President Trump announced that he was decertifying the deal because of Iran’s violations of its terms, although he stopped short of formally pulling out.
“Among other alleged violations, Trump said Iran failed to meet expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges and intimidated international inspectors into not using their full authority,” Fox News reported at the time.
The ball is now in Congress’ court to reinstate economic sanctions against Tehran.
In a detailed New York Times profile of ex-Obama White House adviser Ben Rhodes in May of 2016, the Times claimed that the former fiction writer helped sell the Iran deal to the public by creating an echo chamber of think-tank cheerleaders who passed along information to “hundreds of often clueless reporters.” Part of the strategy included the talking point that negotiations commenced when so-called moderates took control of the Iranian government, which the Times deemed “actively misleading.”
“Meanwhile, Hezbollah — in league with Iran — continues to undermine U.S. interests in Iraq, Syria and throughout wide swaths of Latin America and Africa, including providing weapons and training to anti-American Shiite militias,” Politico noted in its report about the stalled DEA Project Cassandra investigation.