- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2017

A Drug Enforcement Administration team says they were tracking a $1 billion per yer drug-and-weapons ring run by Islamist terrorists, only to have the Obama administration kneecap them to avoid “rocking the boat” with Iran.

U.S. officials told Politico for a report Monday that a 2008 task force called “Project Cassandra” was undermined by the former president as he tried to seal a nuclear deal with Iran.

David Asher, one of the group’s co-founders, said a “policy decision” was made to prevent the prosecution of Abdallah Safieddine, a Hezbollah envoy to Tehran.

“Hezbollah operates like the Gambino crime family on steroids, and [Safieddine] is its John Gotti,” ex-DEA agent Jack Kelly, who created the taskforce, told the website. “Whatever Iran needs, Safieddine is in charge of getting it for them.”

Mr. Asher claimed the White House under Mr. Obama “serially ripped apart” the task force’s efforts via orders by the Justice Department and Treasury Department.

A former Obama administration official who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity said that those who are now complaining have a myopic view of the issue.

“I get the feeling people who don’t know what’s going on in the broader universe are grasping at straws,” the source said.

“The world is a lot more complicated than viewed through the narrow lens of drug trafficking. So, you’re not going to let CIA rule the roost, but you’re also certainly not going to let DEA do it either,” the official said.

“Your approach to anything as complicated as Hezbollah is going to have to involve the interagency [process], because the State Department has a piece of the pie, the intelligence community does, Treasury does, DOD does.”

Project Cassandra officials told Politico that they were transferred to other assignments after Mr. Obama’s deal with Iran was announced in January 2016.

President Trump has repeatedly called Mr. Obama’s signature initiative toward Iran the “worst deal ever.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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