The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has said Hizbullah may have hundreds of operatives based in the United States as several former officials raised fears on the rising threat of the party to U.S. security.
During a hearing Wednesday with former government officials testifying,
The committee’s chairman Peter King, said Hizbullah is increasingly posing a big threat to Americans.
"Now, as Iran moves closer to nuclear weapons, and there is increasing concern over war between Iran and Israel, we must also focus on Iran's secret operatives and their number one terrorist proxy force, Hizbullah, which we know is in America," said King.
Former FBI official Chris Swecker agreed that the Lebanese party poses a real threat to the U.S. homeland security.
"While al-Qaida has gained attention and notoriety with a series of sensational attacks, Hizbullah has quietly and strategically operated below the radar screen by avoiding overt terrorist attacks in the U.S.," he said.
A former drug enforcement official, Michael Braun, expressed fears on the alleged ties between Hizbullah and global drug cartels.
According to Braun, Hizbullah and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard “are now operating and working in close proximity and collaborating with Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking cartels, not only in the Western Hemisphere, but other locations such as Guinea Bissau in West Africa.”
Former Department of Treasury official Matthew Levitt said Hizbullah has long seen the U.S. as a “cash cow,” where it has run charities and engaged in criminal activities to raise money.
Their remarks to the House Homeland Security Committee came as it heard majority preliminary investigative findings on the threat of Hizbullah and Iran to U.S. security.
The report said: “There is general consensus among dozens of experts as well as current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials interviewed by the Majority Investigative Staff that Hizbullah … is the most capable of flipping a U.S.-based fundraising cell into a lethal terror force.”
It also stressed that “most Hizbullah-linked Federal defendants have been Lebanese nationals or naturalized U.S. citizens from Lebanon,” saying “many of those charged by the Department of Justice over the past decade remain at large in Lebanon.”
The report cited around 21 cases in the U.S. against Hizbullah operatives in the past 10 years.
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