Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sunday Long Read: Iran Into The Wall

Politico has a massive report on the dark side of Obama's Iran deal and how the previous administration looked the other way on Hezbollah's drug-fueled money-laundering schemes to pay for terrorism, all sacrificed so that Barack Obama could get his Iran deal. 

I don't know what to say about this other than to read the whole thing, because it's pretty shocking stuff.  The article flat out accuses the Obama administration of a massive cover-up.

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, according to a POLITICO investigation. 
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.
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, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests. 
The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.
This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra as a Defense Department illicit finance analyst. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

Now, I'm not dumb enough to say that the FBI had their hands totally clean on this or anything involving the Justice Department that crosses over into international politics and Iran, but if this all is even remotely credible, a lot of questions need to be answered under oath.  The United States has a long, long history of looking the other way in the middle East when it comes to diplomatic convenience, certainly long before Obama.

But the notion that Barack Obama "covered this up" is ludicrous.  David Asher up there works for a think tank called Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has been, surprise! One of the loudest right-wing opponents of Obama's Iran deal.

It's all a load of bull.

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