A Republican congressman has called on a House panel to investigate the Obama administration’s reported interference in a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force probe against Hezbollah’s lucrative drug trafficking, money laundering, and arms smuggling activities in Latin America, all to ensure passage of the Iran nuclear deal.
On Sunday, Politico revealed that Obama administration officials reportedly undermined a DEA operation, dubbed Project Cassandra, aimed at combating the Iranian narco-terrorist proxy’s “billion-dollar criminal enterprise” in Latin America.
In a statement issued Tuesday urging the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee to investigate the allegations in the report, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), the chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, said:
These revelations are shocking and infuriating. While American soldiers were bravely fighting ISIS [Islamic State] terrorists, with some paying the ultimate price, the Obama administration reportedly was protecting Hezbollah terrorists who were funding themselves by trafficking illegal drugs. No wonder President Obama couldn’t bring himself to call them “Radical Islamist Terrorists.”
Pittenger, a years-long advocate against Hezbollah’s activities in Latin America, sent a letter to House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) urging him to investigate the allegations in the Politico report.
“The growing nexus between terrorist organizations and Latin American drug cartels poses a grave threat to our national security, especially considering the porous state of our southern border,” added the North Carolina Republican, who also serves as the vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing.
The U.S. military has for years been highlighting the menace against the United States posed by operations linked to Hezbollah and Iran, its benefactor, in Latin America.
Despite the warnings from the U.S. armed forces, the Obama administration argued that Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere was “waning,” reported the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’s watchdog arm, in late September 2014. This assessment came months before world powers and Iran agreed to the nuclear deal in July 2015.
Shiite Hezbollah operatives are involved in various lucrative criminal activities in the Western Hemisphere, ranging from money laundering to massive cocaine trafficking primarily into Europe and the United States.
Referring to the DEA operation sabotaged by the Obama administration, Politico reported:
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.