Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Thursday that a team of prosecutors has been assembled to investigate groups that provide financial support to the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah.
The announcement marks a drastic turnaround from policies put in place during the Obama Administration when the Justice Department sought to improve relations with Iran.
Barack Obama’s Justice Department knew that Iran has financial ties to Hezbollah. Since Obama aimed to lift sanctions through the Iran Nuclear Deal, the administration saw DEA attempts to investigate and arrest Hezbollah financiers as detrimental to deal’s success.
Politico recently reported on how the Obama administration therefore roadblocked the DEA’s Project Cassandra, despite the fact that Hezbollah was known to be collecting some $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking.
The Federalist Papers reported on Obama DoJ roadblocks just last month.
Sessions’s announcement verifies that Obama’s longstanding policies that let Hezbollah off the hook no longer apply, and the DOJ, along with the DEA, the FBI, and Homeland Security will cooperate with a thorough investigation of narcotic trafficking and organized crime that funds Hezbollah.
The US Department of Justice issued a press release on Thursday, verifying Sessions’s announcement:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced the creation of the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team (HFNT), a group of experienced international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and money laundering prosecutors. HFNT prosecutors and investigators are tasked with investigating individuals and networks providing support to Hezbollah, and pursuing prosecutions in any appropriate cases. The HFNT will begin by assessing the evidence in existing investigations, including cases stemming from Project Cassandra, a law enforcement initiative targeting Hezbollah’s drug trafficking and related operations.
The HFNT will coordinate with, among others, investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), including the DEA’s Special Operations Division; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Homeland Security Investigations; Assistant United States Attorneys; and attorneys from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and National Security Division.
“The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis,” said Attorney General Sessions. “In an effort to protect Americans from both threats, the Justice Department will assemble leading investigators and prosecutors to ensure that all Project Cassandra investigations as well as other related investigations, whether past or present, are given the needed resources and attention to come to their proper resolution. The team will initiate prosecutions that will restrict the flow of money to foreign terrorist organizations as well as disrupt violent international drug trafficking operations.”
According to the DOJ, Acting Assistant General Cronan said the team will “use all appropriate tools to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who provide financial support to Hezbollah.”
Much of the drug trafficking the DEA’s Project Cassandra determined funds Hezbollah occurs here in the US.
By investigating and prosecuting these traffickers, we can relieve the drug crisis that’s been growing rapidly throughout the US while simultaneously cracking down on terrorism.
The Obama era’s obsession with lifting sanctions on Iran never justified excusing those soon to be targeted by HFNT. Today, Sessions makes it clear that politics isn’t going to get in the way of justice any longer.
We will make our neighborhoods safer and cut the flow of cash to Hezbollah and other terrorist networks, no matter what effect prosecutions may have on Obama’s precious Nuclear Deal.