US security committee: Hezbollah could be in US

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas): Boston bomber "very likely" trained by extremists in Chechnya; Hezbollah a "national security concern."

April 22, 2013 05:22
2 minute read.
Boston Police coordinate the scene after two blasts at the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013.

Boston blasts police 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

NEW YORK – There may be Hezbollah terrorists living in America, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the US House Committee on Homeland Security, said on Sunday.

He said he was worried over the freedom of movement of terrorists in the wake of the twin bombings in Boston last week.

“We’re concerned about Hezbollah operatives here in the United States,” McCaul told a San Diego news outlet.

“While before they had a relationship [in America] about money, finance, the fact they could become operational is very much a national security concern.”

McCaul worked on a November 2012 House subcommittee report, titled “Line in the Sand,” which “concluded that Iran and Hezbollah pose a threat to the entire Western Hemisphere including the United States and our southwest border.”

According to the document, Hezbollah is keenly aware of the porous nature of the border around San Diego, and its leadership has been channeling money to drug cartels in exchange for a foothold near the US-Mexico border and aid in crossing it. The report cites at least one intelligence mission in coordination with Colombian authorities – called Operation Titan – that led to the seizure of $23 million in assets.

The report notes the arrest of Said Jaziri – a suspected Muslim extremist from Tunisia – who was smuggled across the San Diego border with Mexico in the trunk of a car.

During a hearing last year on Hezbollah’s influence in Latin America, Drug Enforcement Administration chief of operations Michael Braun issued similar warnings, but made no claim that terrorist operatives had successfully entered the US.

“It’s really a nightmare scenario,” testified Braun. “If anyone thinks for a moment that [Lebanon’s] Hezbollah and [Iran’s] Qods Force, the masters at leveraging and exploiting existing elicit infrastructures globally, are not going to focus on our southwest border and use that as perhaps a spring board in attacking our country, then they just don’t understand how the real underworld works.”

McCaul granted interviews to the major American broadcast news outlets on Sunday, during which he repeatedly outlined his theory that the older brother in the Boston bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was probably “radicalized and trained overseas” during a sixmonth visit with family in Chechnya last year, and that he “very likely” met with terrorists during his trip.

On both CNN and Fox News, the Texas congressman called Chechen Islamists “some of the fiercest jihadist warriors out there.”

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