The retired head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special-operations division said on Wednesday the Obama administration squandered a chance to dismantle Hezbollah due in part to political motivations to clinch a nuclear deal with Iran.
Derek Maltz, who was in charge of a major law enforcement operation targeting Hezbollah’s trafficking of cocaine, said the United States cannot again succumb to political distractions that allow the Iranian-backed terrorist to continue its narcoterrorism campaign.
“There’s an old saying, opportunities come and go,” Maltz testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “In my personal opinion, having been the guy in charge of the special operations for ten years, we lost a gold opportunity to crush Hezbollah.”
Politico in December first reported the Obama administration’s quiet dismantling of these efforts, dubbed Project Cassandra, out of apprehension over rattling Iran as President Barack Obama pursued a landmark nuclear deal with the country. The piece, written by Politico‘s Josh Meyer, extensively quoted Maltz, who said he had “no doubt” multilateral negotiations with Iran sidelined ongoing operations against Hezbollah’s drug trafficking network.