Project Cassandra was built upon previous efforts by the Drug Enforcement Agency and US intelligence agencies to deal with the growing reach of Hezbollah around the globe. By the time Obama took office, Hezbollah’s crimes financed terrorism to the tune of more than $1 billion while also furthering the interests of the ayatollahs pulling their strings in Tehran.
But the Obama administration wasn’t interested. By the time Obama’s second term began, he had in place CIA Director John Brennan, who had long advocated better relations with Hezbollah “moderates,” and Secretary of State John Kerry, who was determined to make every conceivable concession to Iran — including legalizing their nuclear program and allowing restrictions on it to eventually lapse — in order to get an agreement. That was the beginning of the end for Project Cassandra.
Orders from on high precluded indictments and operations designed to hinder Hezbollah. Ali Fayad, a Lebanese arms dealer who was indicted on charges of planning the murders of US government workers, had been captured in the Czech Republic. But, bowing to Russian pressure, the US made no effort to extradite him and Fayad was allowed to evade justice and go back into business in Lebanon.
Another top Hezbollah operative involved in chemical weapons also got a pass. Possible indictments of Hezbollah personnel were quashed. A top operative involved in trafficking chemical weapons also got a pass and requests to lure others involved in this mafia-style group to countries where they could be apprehended were denied.
Those US agents who protested this were told not to “rock the boat.” While the CIA was leery of DEA efforts to prosecute a group they sought to influence, the Obama administration was interested in neither law enforcement nor covert operations against Hezbollah as their push for an agreement with Tehran became more serious. Meanwhile, the terrorists were sending planeloads worth of cash from Latin America drug trafficking and even the proceeds from Islamist-run used- car companies in the US back to Lebanon. Cash reserves in a Beirut account that was awash in Hezbollah drug money doubled. A regular shuttle flew from Venezuela to Iran, with illegal drugs and cash flowing one way and Hezbollah and Iranian agents (who were then supplied with fake identities by Venezuela) the other. But to the frustration of those involved in Cassandra, the US didn’t act when it could to capture those in the scheme.