Obama, the terrorist financier

By J. D. Heyes, editor-in-chief

(National SentinelUnprecedented: When he was running for his first term as president in 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama delivered what was described at the time by ABC News as a “strikingly bold speech” about the “war on terror.”

In calling for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, the freshman Democratic senator from Illinois called for redeploying thousands of troops to Afghanistan and, if necessary, Pakistan.

“I understand that [then-]President Musharraf has his own challenges,” Obama told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “but let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005.

“If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will,” Obama vowed.

Granted, as president, the world looks different from the Oval Office, but does it look so different that it transforms a presidential candidate seeking to protect Americans from terrorism to a president who funds them?

Apparently so — at least, if you’re Barack Obama.

You may recall that as part of his ‘gotta have it at all costs nuclear deal’ with the Iranians, Obama authorized a payment of $400 million to the murderous theocrats who run the country, a payment that was literally delivered secretly, in the dead of night, on pallets stacked in a cargo plane.

As The Wall Street Journal noted at the time, the payment wasn’t made to the Iranians until four U.S. hostages were released — meaning that Obama reversed decades of U.S. policy against paying ransom to terrorist organizations (Iran is a state-sponsor of terrorism, making the entire regime a terrorist organization):

Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.

As outrageous as that was, there’s more to the story. The WSJ noted further:

The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” President Barack Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17—without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.

Next, the Obama administration authorized 13 payments of $99,999,999 on the same day to the Iranian regime for a total of around $1.3 billion — paid out of a secret fund run by the Treasury Department called the “Judgement Fund” that is used to pay monetary awards against the U.S. government. The payments were less than $100 each to avoid oversight (reporting requirements), according to the New York Sun.

Of course. We’re talking about the most corrupt regime in the history of our country, as we continue to learn each day.

For months after revelations surrounding the ransom payments, foreign policy realists predicted that Iran would use the monetary windfall to fund its terrorist proxies, which include Hamas and Hezbollah (rather than spend the money on its own people).

Those predictions were met with the usual derision and pompous dismissal by the pro-Obama commentariat and congressional Democrats.

Turns out those predictions were spot-on.

As Bill Gertz reported for the Washington Times, a U.S. government study has found that “Iran used the funds to pay its main proxy, the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah, along with the Quds Force, Iran’s main intelligence and covert action arm and element of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

During his two terms in office, Obama did more to support terrorists aligned against America than he did to eliminate them as a threat. And now we know for certain.

What a guy.

A version of this story appears at NewsTarget.com.

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Obama HACKS try to SPIN their way out of Hezbollah-cocaine smuggling BOMBSHELL ahead of congressional probe

(National SentinelThe Big Lie: Former Obama administration officials who created the media “echo chamber” in order to sell the Iran nuclear deal are now working to undermine a bombshell report revealing how the Obama administration derailed its own Drug Enforcement Agency from disrupting Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah from operating a global narcotics ring.

Legacy Food Storage

According to a report by Politico, which The National Sentinel featured earlier this week, the Obama administration essentially gave Hezbollah a pass in order to pursue and eventually sign the Iran nuclear deal, which remains one of Barack Obama’s few legacies.

The report has prompted two Republican members of the House Oversight Committee — Reps. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio — to launch a congressional investigation into the scandal on Thursday. Both men have called on the Justice Department to release all documents related to the matter.

Their announcement has prompted former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes to launch an effort of his own designed to discredit the Politico report, which began:

In 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.

Rhodes has labeled the report a concocted Right-wing conspiracy, even though Politico is widely perceived to be a Left-leaning news organization.

In addition to Rhodes, other Obama officials including former National Security Council members Tommy Vietor and Ned Price, have begun to push back against the story, putting forth an exculpatory media narrative ahead of the coming investigations by Congress.

“Organizations funded by the Ploughshares Fund, a Left-wing donor group that helped the Obama administration manufacture positive Iran deal coverage, have pushed that same narrative smearing the Politico story,” The Daily Caller reports.

“There are many reasonable critiques of Obama’s foreign policy. The idea that he was soft on Hezbollah is not one of them. The story is so manufactured out of thin air that it’s hard to push back except to say that it’s a figment of the imagination of two very flawed sources,” Vietor wrote.

Politico reporter Josh Meyer, who wrote the story, has pushed back against the trio, saying they are “blatantly lying” about its true contents.

“You’ve either not read it or are willfully disregarding the many other people quoted, the documents people can link to and the obvious facts,” Meyer said in a series of tweets addressed them.

“I’m compiling a list of [questions] to post for you guys, and for the congressional hearings,” Meyer added.

Rhodes bragged to the New York Times last year that he duped reporters who “literally know nothing” into helping him create an “echo chamber” around the Iran deal, The Daily Caller noted.

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Revealed: Obama ENDED ambitious law enforcement effort against Iran proxy Hezbollah to secure NUKE DEAL

(National SentinelDupe: President Barack Obama sidelined a top-level, aggressive American law enforcement campaign against Iran proxy Hezbollah targeting the militant group’s drug trafficking in order to secure his nuclear deal with Tehran, Politico reported Monday.

The effort was code-named Project Cassandra and was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration collected evidence that Hezbollah had grown from a regional Middle Eastern terrorist and political organization into a global crime syndicate that some U.S. investigators say led to $1 billion annually in drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

The following eight years saw U.S. agents working from a top-secret DEA operations center in Chantilly, Va., where they used wiretaps, undercover ops and informants in order to map out Hezbollah’s global crime networks, with the assistance of 30 additional U.S. and foreign security agencies.

Noted Politico:

They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. 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.

Nevertheless, as Project Cassandra uncovered more of the conspiracy, officials with the Obama administration threw up a growing number of roadblocks that became increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to clear, according to scores of interviews with participants who, in many instances, spoke about the operations for the first time, Politico reported.

The news site also quoted from a review of government documents and court records.

“When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests,” the site noted.

For example, the Obama Justice Department refused requests by Project Casandra officials and other authorities to file criminal charges against high-ranking Hezbollah players, including an envoy to Iran.

Others included a Lebanese bank the group used to launder billions in alleged drug profits and a key figure in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force.

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra as a Defense Department illicit finance analyst. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

In all, Project Cassandra officials tracked tons of cocaine that entered the U.S. as hundreds of millions of dollars went to a group on the U.S. terrorist watch list that had increasingly wide global reach.

Obama had come into office promising better relations with Iran, having declared on the campaign trail that the Bush administration’s record of animosity and sanctions toward Iran was not successful.

Shortly after he entered office, then-CIA Director John Brennan noted in a policy paper that “the next president has the opportunity to set a new course for relations between the two countries” through not only a direct dialogue, but “greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system.”

Noted Politico:

In practice, the administration’s willingness to envision a new role for Hezbollah in the Middle East, combined with its desire for a negotiated settlement to Iran’s nuclear program, translated into a reluctance to move aggressively against the top Hezbollah operatives, according to Project Cassandra members and others.

In the end, the report notes, the administration was more interested in getting its nuclear deal with Iran than it was prosecuting a top military organization that was dumping cocaine into the country, while using the money to strengthen itself in Lebanon and as an Iranian proxy, with Israel the most obvious loser, at least in the short term.

One former senior Obama administration official who was involved in the nuclear deal denied that Project Cassandra operatives were being thwarted purposely by the White House.

The official also suggested to Politico that intelligence operations may have overlapped.

“What if the CIA or the Mossad had an intelligence operation ongoing inside Hezbollah and they were trying to pursue someone . . . against whom we had impeccable [intelligence] collection and the DEA is not going to know that?” the official said. “I get the feeling people who don’t know what’s going on in the broader universe are grasping at straws.”

The official noted further: “The world is a lot more complicated than viewed through the narrow lens of drug trafficking. 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.”

Other former Obama officials who were not part of Cassandra, however, say there was indeed a concerted effort to tamp down efforts to go after key Hezbollah figures.

Katherine Bauer, in little-noticed written testimony presented last February to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that “under the Obama administration … these [Hezbollah-related] investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.”

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Netanyahu tells Russian defense minister Israel cannot allow Iranian bases in Syria

(National Sentinel) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that his country could never permit the Iranian military to have a permanent presence in Syria, and that surely “Tehran knows this.”

In comments to the Russian press regarding the meeting, Netanyahu said it was focused on, “above all, Iran’s attempts to establish military bases in Syria.”

Earlier, he said that the Jewish state “will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces.”

As the Syrian civil war is winding down, Iran and Iranian proxies like Hezbollah have been working to establish a permanent presence in the war-torn country, both as a strategic move against Israel and to influence the direction of the Syrian government.

Analyst comment: As we have stated in recent Strategic Intelligence Summaries, the most likely next war in the Middle East will involve Israeli and Iranian forces, the latter either directly or via proxies. This confirms our earlier analysis. Stay current on this and other potential conflicts by subscribing today.

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