Commentary Magazine


Topic: homeland defense

Hezbollah Donors, Agents Operating in U.S.

Of all the terror groups that pose an internal threat to the U.S., the threat from the Iran-backed Hezbollah may be the most pressing. Today House Homeland Security Committee chief Peter King is holding a hearing on the organization’s U.S.-based network. According to his findings, Hezbollah is thought to have thousands of sympathetic donors and hundreds of operatives across the country – many of them with military training:

Pinning down a reliable estimate of the number of Hezbollah operatives who now reside inside the U.S. is difficult because of their operational security expertise.  But some officials estimate that, based on cases uncovered since 9/11, there are likely several thousand sympathetic donors, while operatives probably number in the hundreds. …

Many defendants were known or suspected of having military training or direct combat experience against Israeli forces. Some were quietly convicted of fraud and deported as criminal aliens without their Hezbollah background being publicly disclosed by prosecutors, the Majority’s Investigative Staff has learned

King’s hearing will no doubt be used as fodder by Iran’s sympathizers in America, who want to discourage Israel from striking the Iranian nuclear program. The New York Times has been playing up how an Israeli attack on Iran’s facilities may spark a violent backlash against the U.S. And there’s no denying that an Israeli strike could ensnare the U.S. in some form or another.

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Of all the terror groups that pose an internal threat to the U.S., the threat from the Iran-backed Hezbollah may be the most pressing. Today House Homeland Security Committee chief Peter King is holding a hearing on the organization’s U.S.-based network. According to his findings, Hezbollah is thought to have thousands of sympathetic donors and hundreds of operatives across the country – many of them with military training:

Pinning down a reliable estimate of the number of Hezbollah operatives who now reside inside the U.S. is difficult because of their operational security expertise.  But some officials estimate that, based on cases uncovered since 9/11, there are likely several thousand sympathetic donors, while operatives probably number in the hundreds. …

Many defendants were known or suspected of having military training or direct combat experience against Israeli forces. Some were quietly convicted of fraud and deported as criminal aliens without their Hezbollah background being publicly disclosed by prosecutors, the Majority’s Investigative Staff has learned

King’s hearing will no doubt be used as fodder by Iran’s sympathizers in America, who want to discourage Israel from striking the Iranian nuclear program. The New York Times has been playing up how an Israeli attack on Iran’s facilities may spark a violent backlash against the U.S. And there’s no denying that an Israeli strike could ensnare the U.S. in some form or another.

But there are greater domestic threats than a radical anti-American regime with ties to terror operatives in the U.S. For example: a radical anti-American regime with ties to terror operatives in the U.S. that also has nuclear weapons.

King said today that his findings shouldn’t be used to discourage an Israeli strike:

“There’s no doubt that if Israel does attack Iran, this is not going to be easy, it’s not going to be surgical, and again the U.S. could find itself implicated or involved in it,” said King on CNN’s “Starting Point.”

“I don’t think we can rule out an Israeli attack. I think we need to keep all the pressure out there. Sometimes the president has had mixed signals — I think in recent weeks he’s gotten more consistent to Iran. But again, the fact that there can be complications are not a reason why Israel shouldn’t do it or we shouldn’t do it,” he added.

Exactly. This is why the argument from the appease-Iran crowd is so counter-intuitive. If there’s broad concern about the threat of Hezbollah operatives in the U.S. now, why would we expect them to be less of a threat if they were backed by mullahs with nukes? Or are we just supposed to that pray Israel and our other allies don’t do anything that might offend the regime once it obtains nuclear weapons, lest its Hezbollah allies retaliate against us domestically?

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