Another layer of the U.S.-Cuba policy onion has been peeled away exposing more questions about the legality of the Obama administration’s new approach toward the police state. In a recently declassified September 9, 2011 e-mail (embedded at the end of this post) to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Sidney Blumenthal, we learn the following:
extremely sensitive sources reported in confidence that the Israeli Intelligence and Security Service (Mossad) has informed the leadership of the Israeli Government that Hezbollah is establishing an operational base in Cuba, designed to support terrorist attacks throughout Latin America.
The Hezbollah office in Cuba is being established under direct orders from the current General Secretary Hasan Nasrallah, who replaced Musawi in 1992. According to the information available to this source, in preparation for establishment of the base, Nasrallah, working from inside of Lebanon, carried out secret negotiations with representatives of the Cuban Government, particularly the Cuban Intelligence Service (General Intelligence Directorate — DGI), agreeing to maintain an very low profile inside of Cuba.
A terrorist marked for death by Israel, rightly so, Hasan Nasrallah seems to have also provided some assurances that Hezbollah would be discreet. According to Clinton/Blumental exchange:
[Nasrallah] also promised to take measures to avoid any trail of evidence that could lead back to Cuba in the event of a Hezbollah attack in Latin America
This latest revelation further reinforces the idea that had the Republican-controlled Congress focused on keeping Cuba on the well-earned state sponsors of terrorism list, the US-Cuba regulatory bender that followed could have been contained.
As Yleem and I penned in a National Review January 2015 op-ed:
Administration officials have reportedly spent the last two years creating a foundation for Obama’s Cuba announcement on December 17 — all the while denying any such activity when asked by Congress about related news reports. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it closely parallels the script used in the negotiations leading to the release of five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl …
Congress must therefore require a comprehensive appraisal of the range of Cuba’s activities against the U.S. and its interests and priorities before the White House can make any decision on whether Cuba will remain on the terrorism list. The review must cover no less than a 20-year period and include a fresh appraisal of all available raw data used in the Clinton-era Pentagon assessment spearheaded by Montes. The review should include detailed intelligence and analysis of unconventional threats and programs that have dual-use application, such as Cuba’s biotech capabilities.
Failure to do so would make Congress complicit in the administration’s acquiescence to Cuba’s Communist regime; it would undermine American interests and reinforce a message of weakness to other enemies of freedom and security.
And, yes, the security issues remain unchecked. The Congress have the administration a free pass and the Obama regulators continue to ease U.S. sanctions on Cuba. Some of these new regulations are out of harmony with statutory grant of power. In other words, they are illegal. We can, and must, do better. U.S. taxpayers expect more. Was this email, and the information it contained, considered by the State Department before removing Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list? If not, why not?
Hezbollah in Latin America is not a new phenomena; Hezbollah, other terrorists groups, and state sponsors of terror have been active in Western Hemisphere since the 1990s. So this issue goes well beyond US-Cuba policy. It bleeds into larger U.S. policy equities such as regional security in the Americas as well as the global war to eradicate threats posed by adherent of radical Islamic jihad.