By: Cristiano Lima

Congressional Republicans on Thursday demanded action and sought more information following a POLITICO report that the Obama administration derailed a law enforcement campaign against drug trafficking by the terrorist group Hezbollah as former President Barack Obama sought to secure a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) urged President Donald Trump to reinstate a task force to combat illegal activities by Hezbollah in the U.S., and he called on the Justice and Treasury departments to investigate the matter.

Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both members of the House oversight committee, called for the Department of Justice to hand over by Jan. 8 all documents related to interference with law enforcement efforts against Hezbollah. They also asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to brief the oversight panel's staff by Jan. 12.

The POLITICO investigation found that a campaign dubbed Project Cassandra was launched in 2008 to monitor Hezbollah's criminal activities after the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered evidence of drug and weapons trafficking and money laundering by the group. But participants in the task force said the Obama administration created roadblocks, saying officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed or rejected requests for approval for some investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions.

“Hezbollah is a brutal terrorist group and it would be unconscionable for American policy to deliberately empower such a nefarious organization,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Allegations that the Obama Administration purposefully undermined law enforcement efforts against Hezbollah in order to save the disastrous Iran Deal need to be swiftly and fully investigated by Congress.”

Jordan added: “The allegations that Obama’s DOJ possibly halted the wheels of justice for the sake of an illegal deal cementing his political legacy is both unnerving and unacceptable. We need answers.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also called for members of the Trump administration to provide answers regarding the report.

"If the Obama administration failed to use the authorities that Congress has authorized to stop Hezbollah terrorists and their associates from pouring cocaine onto our streets to fund terrorism and acquire weapons of mass destruction, it was a colossal mistake," Sasse wrote in a letter to leaders at the Justice, Treasury, and State departments on Thursday.

Sasse requested that the three departments release documentation pertaining to Hezbollah's criminal activities between 2009 and 2017, as well as any proof of "potential prosecutorial, financial, or diplomatic action that was considered but not taken against Hezbollah" and its associates.

 

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Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/21/ben-sasse-investigation-obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-312213

 

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