During an interview of a top GOP lawmaker on Fox News Channel on Monday, while discussing the threat by terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah to Israel, Congressman Mike McCaul stated that a new report reveals that Hezbollah is operating in the Western Hemisphere and is as much a threat to the United States as it is to Israel.
The U.S. House of Representatives report titled “A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border,” detailing the findings of a committee’s probe regarding the increased presence of Middle East terrorist networks in Latin America and their growing relationship with drug cartels, was released to little fanfare on Friday.
The report — a follow-up by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management, to his 2006 report on the threat Mexican drug cartels pose to the Southwest border — documents increased operational control of Mexican drug cartels inside the U.S., their strategy to move illegal drugs, and the bloody turf wars that have taken place between rival cartels, as they struggle to control valuable trafficking corridors.
This latest report closely examines the increased presence and influence of Iranian intelligence agents and the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah in Latin America and their relationship with drug cartels, including:
* Hezbollah’s known money laundering and major fundraising activities in Latin America.
* Documentation that shows a relationship between Hezbollah and Mexican drug cartels as early as 2005.
* The potential for Hezbollah operatives to use their alliances with the cartels to cross into the U.S. undetected through cartel-controlled smuggling routes across the Southwest border.
Subcommittee Chairman McCaul said, “Middle East terrorist networks that continue to plot against the United States are expanding their ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations, better positioning themselves for a possible attack on our homeland.”
“This report documents the increased presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Latin America and addresses the growing concern that terrorist organizations will exploit burgeoning relationships with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the Southwest border undetected,” said Congressman McCaul, a Republican.
Subcommittee Chairman McCaul said: “The Federal government needs to better address this threat and secure ‘America’s unlocked back door.’ In late 2010, DHS reported that it could respond to illegal activity along only 44 percent of the Southwest border, leaving 7,500 border miles inadequately protected. After this abysmal report card, DHS quickly abandoned this metric and has yet to implement another way to measure its progress in securing the border.”
“The purpose of this hearing is to assess the findings of the Subcommittee’s report and develop potential solutions for the next Administration and Congress to help prevent a breach of our border security and avert the consequences that could result,” said McCaul.
Iran has found ideological-political sympathy in a number of Latin American countries, which may enable it to escape from its increasing political isolation and strengthen the so-called “resistance camp” it leads including Syria, Hezbollah, and Palestinian terrorist organizations.
Iran also regards Latin America as good area for defiance and also for challenging the United States in various ways: increased political and military collaboration, economic infiltration and extensive activities to disseminate Shi’ite Islam and eventually export the Islamic revolution to Latin America, according to an Israeli police source who requested anonymity.