Obama's Alternative Facts on the Iran Nuclear Deal
When the Obama administration sold its Iran nuclear deal to Congress in 2015, one of its primary arguments was that the agreement was narrow. It lifted only nuclear sanctions. America, President Barack Obama told us, would remain a vigilant foe of Iran's regional predations through sanctions and other means.
Thanks to stunning new reporting from Politico's Josh Meyer, we can now assess these assertions and conclude that they are … well, "alternative facts."
Meyer reports that while the U.S. and other great powers were negotiating a deal to bring transparency to Iran's nuclear program, top officials in Obama's government dismantled a campaign, known as Operation Cassandra, intended to undermine Hezbollah's global drug trafficking and money laundering network.
A few months after the implementation of that bargain in January 2016, Operation Cassandra was ripped apart. Agents were reassigned. Leads and sources dried up. Bad guys got away.
Hezbollah is many things: a Lebanese political party, a militia and a Shiite religious movement. It is also an arm of Iranian foreign policy. Hezbollah shock troops fight alongside Iran's Revolutionary Guard commanders in Syria and Iraq. Iran uses the group's operatives for international terror attacks in Latin America. Hezbollah's advanced arsenal is supplied by the Iranian state. Hezbollah's drug trafficking provides the revenue it needs to spread mayhem. To curb that trafficking is to starve Iran's primary proxy.
The Obama administration believed cracking down on Hezbollah's trafficking would undermine nuclear negotiations. As David Asher, a former Pentagon illicit finance analyst and a key player in Operation Cassandra, told Meyer: “This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision. They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”