My recent commentary on John Brennan and the CIA’s likely role in using an “informant” (spy) to infiltrate the Trump campaign sparked a note from newsletter subscriber Jill B. of Texas reminding me of a story that came out last year in POLITICO. Since that time, of course, it has gone to the Land Where Anti-Obama Stories Go To Die, but this remarkable piece exposes in extreme detail the thwarting of the DEA’s “Project Cassandra” during the time surrounding the Iran nuclear deal. These dedicated agents had spent years unlocking the secrets of Hezbollah’s funding as it morphed from a regional paramilitary organization into a sophisticated organized-crime/terrorist power spreading its tentacles across the globe, with much of its muscle concentrated in Latin America.
(Side note to FBI/CIA: THIS is the kind of thing spies should be used for.)
Anyway, perhaps you remember the story; Hezbollah was laundering massive amounts of money through international sales of used cars. The billions of dollars generated by Hezbollah’s commerce in cocaine, IEDs, chemical weapons and other deadly commodities helped to arm jihadis who killed and mangled American soldiers, something to remember if you decide to take a little time over this Memorial Day weekend and read the whole sorry account.
Many agents who spoke for this report said they were sure negotiations for the Iran deal sabotaged their ability to bring the charges they’d labored for years to make stick. Getting that awful deal was more important to the White House than stopping what was growing into a huge international terrorist power. These agents believe –- “will believe to the death,” one source said –- that the case they built was deliberately dismantled because of an interdepartmental turf war over Iran.
Then-CIA Director John Brennan had expressed publicly –- the story quotes him from 2010, when he was Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism –- that it was good to build up the Hezbollah “moderates.” Hezbollah moderates; now there’s an oxymoron if ever there was one. Anyone who believes in courting Hezbollah moderates is just a moron, period. But Project Cassandra participants said for this story that “the administration’s willingness to envision a new role for Hezbollah in the Middle East, combined with its desire for a negotiated settlement in Iran’s nuclear program, translated into a reluctance to move aggressively against the top Hezbollah operatives.”
John Brennan refused to comment on anything related to his work at the CIA.
According to one DEA agent working in the Mideast, his operations were shut down repeatedly over political sensitivities. He said that when Iranian negotiators complained about their covert operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon, the White House got the CIA to declare a moratorium. “During the operations, early on, they [the Iranians] said, ‘Listen, we need you to lay off Hezbollah, to tamp down the pressure on them,’ and the Obama administration acquiesced to that request,” he said, adding, “It was a strategic agreement to show good faith toward the Iranians in terms of reaching an agreement. The Obama team really, really, really wanted the deal.”
No wonder John Brennan despises President Trump with such a white-hot hate. Brennan and Obama were working hand-in-hand to appease both Iran and Hezbollah and get that mistake-of-a-deal done at any cost. Trump, thankfully, sees those leaders for what they are and refuses to be a chump. Still, it appears to be too late to revive Project Cassandra, which was hit by the bureaucratic equivalent of a roadside bomb.