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Other factors, including a lack of evidence or concerns about interfering with intelligence operations could have been in play.“What if the CIA or the Mossad had an intelligence operation ongoing inside Hezbollah and they were trying to pursue someone . So you’re not going to let CIA rule the roost, but you’re also certainly not going to let DEA do it either.Your approach to anything as complicated as Hezbollah is going to have to involve the interagency [process], because the State Department has a piece of the pie, the intelligence community does, Treasury does, DOD does.”Nonetheless, other sources independent of Project Cassandra confirmed many of the allegations in interviews with POLITICO, and in some cases, in public comments.
Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa.
By Josh Meyer Illustrations by Daniel Zender n its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.
task force targeting Hezbollah's billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House's desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.
And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.
But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records.
On the campaign trail, he had asserted repeatedly that the Bush administration’s policy of pressuring Iran to stop its illicit nuclear program wasn’t working, and that he would reach out to Tehran to reduce tensions.
The man who would become Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and then CIA director, , went further. officials to be back in business, and helping to arm militants in Syria and elsewhere with Russian heavy weapons. People familiar with his case say the Ghost has been one of the world’s biggest cocaine traffickers, including to the U.But the former officials denied that they derailed any actions against Hezbollah or its Iranian allies for political reasons.“There has been a consistent pattern of actions taken against Hezbollah, both through tough sanctions and law enforcement actions before and after the Iran deal,” said Kevin Lewis, an Obama spokesman who worked at both the White House and Justice Department in the administration.Lewis, speaking for the Obama administration, provided a list of eight arrests and prosecutions as proof.“The closer we got to the [Iran deal], the more these activities went away,” Asher said.“So much of the capability, whether it was special operations, whether it was law enforcement, whether it was [Treasury] designations — even the capacity, the personnel assigned to this mission — it was assiduously drained, almost to the last drop, by the end of the Obama administration.”With much fanfare, Obama announced the final agreement on implementation of the Iran deal on Jan.Former Obama administration officials declined to comment on individual cases, but noted that the State Department condemned the Czech decision not to hand over Fayad.