‘The prospect of such bad actors in our hemisphere raises significant concerns about the safety and well-being of the American people…’
The South American socialist country has been in economic and political collapse over the past several years, with Russia, Iran and now the terrorist organization Hezbollah reportedly making inroads within the oil rich nation while it edges ever closer to civil war.
Grassley and Cruz have called for an immediate briefing from top national security and diplomatic officials about what steps need to be taken to prevent these threats from spilling into the United States—particularly across the southern border.
The senators sent a letter to the secretaries of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, as well as to the acting secretary of Defense and the director of the FBI.
The letter cites known terror concerns relating to cross-border threats accessed during the Obama administration, which was well-aware that Hezbollah—a State Department identified terrorist organization with strong ties to Iran—was actively building strategic networks across Central America.
A Politico article was referenced regarding the known vulnerabilities of the southwestern area of the U.S. border, so as not to reveal classified information. The article reports that the Obama administration knew about cross-border activities and Hezbollah’s growing presence in the Western Hemisphere.
As previously reported by Liberty Headlines, at least 15 terror suspects have been caught trying to cross the southern border—according to publicly available information—and homeland security experts are on record saying that Central American migrant caravans pose a serious terror threat to the America.
Grassley and Cruz are also seeking information on how the Trump administration is combating narco-terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering by Hezbollah.
Narco-terrorism occurs when drug cartels and traffickers conduct terrorist attacks to further their illegal narcotics operations. The drug trade is also a way of raising money to fund militant activities, similar to the Taliban’s heroin trade in Afghanistan.
“The prospect of such bad actors in our hemisphere raises significant concerns about the safety and well-being of the American people,” Grassley and Cruz wrote.
“Should the U.S. government not address these concerns head-on, it would be an absolute abdication of our primary responsibility to provide for the common defense,” they said.
Wednesday’s letter further requests details on counter-intelligence efforts in the region to combat operations that may be impeding democracy in favor of rigging political outcomes for adversaries of the United States.
The letter reiterates the need for a serious commitment to border security, not just for to alleviate illegal immigration but also to protect against so-called SIAs and KSTs, or Special Interest Aliens and Known or Suspected Terrorists.
More troubling, according to Grassley and Cruz, is that the spectrum of terrorist threats coalescing in Venezuela isn’t just limited to Hezbollah, but to hostile agents from Cuba, Russia, Iran and China.
“This information is extremely troubling,” they wrote.
“We applaud the Trump administration’s strong stance on a free and democratic Venezuela. We also appreciate the Trump administration’s unapologetic commitment to protecting our homeland, and it is because of that we write to you.”