The Obama administration secretly derailed Drug Enforcement Administration efforts targeting the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah as it worked to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, according to a new report.
In 2008, the DEA launched “Project Cassandra” to track Hezbollah’s trafficking of drug and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activities, some of which were happening in the U.S.
As Project Cassandra carried on, the Obama administration threw a series of roadblocks in its way, Politico reported Sunday.
When investigators sought approval for prosecutions, arrests, and financial sanctions, the Justice Department and Treasury Department officials delayed, hindered, or denied their requests, the report said.
“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” Defense Department illicit finance analyst David Asher said. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”
Project Cassandra members said Obama officials blocked or undermined their efforts to chase down top Hezbollah operatives, including one of the world’s biggest cocaine traffickers who was also a top supplier of conventional and chemical weapons used by Syrian President Bashar Assad against his own citizens.
Former Obama administration officials told Politico their decisions were guided by improving relations with Iran, stalling its nuclear weapons program and freeing four Americans prisoners held by the country. The officials denied any Project Cassandra efforts were derailed for political reasons.
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