National Security

Sessions orders review of Obama-era actions involving Hezbollah

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review of a law enforcement effort to crack down on Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations, as well as actions by the Obama administration on the issue.

Sessions ordered the Justice Department “to evaluate allegations that certain matters were not properly prosecuted and to ensure all matters are appropriately handled,” the agency said in a statement obtained by The Hill.

The move comes in response to a Politico report published Friday detailing how the Obama administration sought to hinder a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) campaign known as Project Cassandra in order to avoid derailing a nuclear deal with Iran.

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According to that report, under the Obama administration, the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected certain investigatory actions. 

“While I am hopeful that there were no barriers constructed by the last administration to allowing DEA agents to fully bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra, this is a significant issue for the protection of Americans,” Sessions said in a statement.

“We will review these matters and give full support to investigations of violent drug trafficking organizations,” he added. 

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who voiced concern this week about the Obama administration’s reported actions regarding Project Cassandra, called the Justice Department review “an appropriate first step.”

“I’m encouraged that the Justice Department recognizes that this is important and I hope that they will swiftly provide answers,” Sasse said in a statement on Friday.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), the chairman of a House Homeland Security Committee panel, also applauded review while accusing the Obama administration of putting “politics ahead of justice.”

“I’m glad AG Sessions ordered a review of the #Obama admin’s relationship with #Hezbollah, so we can get answers to the questions my colleagues and I in Congress are demanding answers to,” Ratcliffe wrote in a tweet.

The Justice Department review was first reported by Fox News.

Updated: 9:35 p.m.

Tags Ben Sasse Drug Enforcement Administration Hezbollah Illegal drug trade Jeff Sessions Jeff Sessions John Ratcliffe Justice Department Project Cassandra United States federal executive departments
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