There was a Politico story earlier this week, investigative reporting by Josh Meyer. It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in regular media, as you might expect from such a big story, probably because it doesn’t portray Obama and his administration in a positive light. I heard of it, instead, from conservative commentators Hugh Hewitt and Ben Shapiro.
The piece, titled “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook,” is very long—about 14,500 words, which looks like more than 40 pages, even with a lot of the illustrations removed. I recommend reading it in full, but I’m going to quote just a few bits, enough so I can make a couple of comments about it.
Here’s the intro:
In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States.
Project Cassandra, as it was called, was launched in 2008, under Pres. Bush:
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.
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,
Here’s an example of things looking really bad:
Lebanese arms dealer Ali Fayad, a suspected top Hezbollah 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 Fayad 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.
Fayad, who had been indicted in U.S. courts on charges of planning the murders of U.S. government employees, attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization and attempting to acquire, transfer and use anti-aircraft missiles, was ultimately sent to Beirut. He is now believed by U.S. officials to be back in business, and helping to arm militants in Syria and elsewhere with Russian heavy weapons.
If you can’t see the irony of this situation, Ben Shapiro spells it out this way:
We’re all supposed to believe that President Trump, as a candidate, colluded with the Russian government to “steal” the 2016 election. There’s no serious evidence to that effect, despite a massive FBI investigation, a Congressional investigation, and a special counsel investigation initiated by the Department of Justice.
But there is clear evidence that the Obama administration colluded with the Russian government to free an Islamic terrorist responsible for the deaths of Americans—all in order to appease Iran to pave the way for the Obama administration’s surrender to the burgeoning Iranian nuclear program and Iran’s escalating regional ambitions.
Obama’s team must have their side of the story, right?
[Kevin] Lewis, speaking for the Obama administration, provided a list of eight arrests and prosecutions as proof [that the administration had taken actions against Hezbollah]. He made special note of a February 2016 operation in which European authorities arrested an undisclosed number of alleged members of a special Hezbollah business affairs unit that the DEA says oversees its drug trafficking and other criminal money-making enterprises.
Project Cassandra officials, however, noted that the European arrests occurred after the negotiations with Iran were over, and said the task force initiated the multinational partnerships on its own, after years of seeing their cases shot down by the Justice and State departments and other U.S. agencies.
The Justice Department, they pointed out, never filed corresponding U.S. criminal charges against the suspects arrested in Europe.
Here’s a bit of the history:
Project Cassandra had its origins in a series of investigations launched in the years after the 9/11 attacks which all led, via their own twisted paths, to Hezbollah as a suspected global criminal enterprise.
Hezbollah, according to John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, isn’t just a group of bad guys anymore; they’re an actual party. So we should respect them. But, in reality, that’s a pretty naive assessment:
“Hezbollah operates like the Gambino crime family on steroids, and [Safieddine] is its John Gotti,” said [Jack] Kelly [DEA agent overseeing Hezbollah cases], referring to the infamous “Teflon Don” crime boss who for decades eluded justice. “Whatever Iran needs, Safieddine is in charge of getting it for them.”
The connection you need to understand is this one:
Because Hezbollah’s drug trafficking was bankrolling its Islamic Jihad military wing and joint ventures with Iran, as [David] Asher [expert on illicit finance, sent from the Pentagon to work on Project Cassandra] would later testify before Congress, it represented “the largest material support scheme for terrorism operations” the world had ever seen.
|Money Laundering paths, map from here|
Red = Used cars bought in US, shipped to West Africa, proceeds to Lebanon
Yellow = Drugs from Colombia and Venezuela are shipped to the US through Mexico, and to Europe via West Africa
Green = Freshly laundered money returned to US to buy used cars
When Kelly couldn’t get the White House to take action on any of the mounds of evidence they’d compiled, he started asking questions:
Kelly said, he ran into one of the unit’s top prosecutors and asked if there was “something going on with the White House that explains why we can’t get a criminal filing.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” the prosecutor replied, according to Kelly. “Right now, we have 50 FBI agents not doing anything because they know their Iran cases aren’t going anywhere,” including investigations around the U.S. into allegedly complicit used-car dealers.
By the end of 2012, senior officials at the Justice Department’s National Security and Criminal divisions, and at the State Department and National Security Council, had shut down, derailed or delayed numerous other Hezbollah-related cases with little or no explanation, according to Asher, Kelly, Maltz and other current and former participating officials.
Agents discovered “an entire Quds force network” in the U.S., laundering money, moving drugs and illegally smuggling Bell helicopters, night-vision goggles and other items for Iran, Asher said.
“We crashed to indict” the elite Iranian unit, and while some operatives were eventually prosecuted, other critically important indictments “were rejected despite the fact that we had excellent evidence and testifying witnesses,” said Asher, who helped lead the investigation.
So, to summarize, Obama was so intent on making the Iran nuclear deal, that he was willing to sacrifice pretty much anything to get it. And what did the US get in the deal? We got a guarantee that Iran would be facilitated in developing nuclear weapons (in about a decade), we would give them $150 billion for allowing us to lift the sanctions—the lifting of which they have not earned—and, as Senator Ted Cruz said, ahead of the disapproving vote from Congress that Obama ignored,
[I]t will facilitate and accelerate the nation of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. There is no greater threat to the safety and security of America. There is no greater threat to the safety and security of Israel, than a nuclear Iran. I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that a nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to the nation of Israel. And let me be clear, when he says existential, he doesn’t mean a bunch of Frenchmen in black berets chain smoking. He means literally going to the very existence of Israel.
There’s a PragerU video on the Iran deal you might want to watch as a refresher:
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Obama has done more to harm the United States of America than any president—and arguably more harm than any other American traitor. It is hard to imagine doing worse.
Is it just because he is short-sighted, ignorant, and unwilling to see reality? Or is it intentional? I don’t know. In the end, God knows, and Obama will, in eternity, be held accountable. In the meantime, we live in a perilous world in which all known paths of corruption and collusion feed efforts to annihilate civilization.
There’s a term for this type of collusion used in the Book of Mormon: secret combinations. It means colluding with others, murdering to get power and money. It’s a grave evil. I was reading a section about it just this week, where we see the rise and fall of a civilization in a relatively short book. This is Ether 8, prophesying of our day:
24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.
The hope is that, if we awake to see our danger, we will turn to God and live. I don’t have a better, or more exact, response to this piece.