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Sessions Wants Review of Obama-era Hezbollah Drug Initiative Probe

Sessions Wants Review of Obama-era Hezbollah Drug Initiative Probe

Saturday, 23 December, 2017 - 05:45
Hezbollah members in Lebanon. AFP file photo

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered an investigation into allegations that the Obama administration undermined efforts to target drug trafficking by Iranian-backed “Hezbollah.”

Sessions didn't say what prompted the review and stopped short of accusing the prior administration of wrongdoing. But the announcement comes after Politico reported that Project Cassandra, a program targeting trafficking by Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” that could have undermined the push for a nuclear deal with Tehran, was "derailed" by the administration of former president Barack Obama.

The review will "evaluate allegations that certain matters were not properly prosecuted and to ensure all matters are appropriately handled," Sessions said in a statement.

"Operations designed to investigate and prosecute terrorist organizations that are also fueling that drug crisis must be paramount in this administration," he said in a statement.

"While I am hopeful that there were no barriers constructed by the last administration to allowing DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agents to fully bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra, this is a significant issue for the protection of Americans," he added.

Based on documents and interviews with former and current high-ranking US officials, Politico explained how “Hezbollah” had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

US President Donald Trump has criticized the Iran nuclear agreement as "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."

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