You’ve got to give the Democrats and their acolytes in the media credit for courage and a talent for tolerating bad taste and smell. It’s not easy to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a corpse.
How else to keep alive the Trump-as-Russian agent investigation? Robert Mueller keeps hiring help, reluctantly cutting loose his chief investigator who turned out to be a Hillary plant eager for revenge, and keeping skeptics at bay with promises that he’ll light the fuse on a bombshell just as soon as he can find one.
Mr. Mueller may have a secret witness or two ready to come forward, but Deep Throat is dead and gone, and secrets are never kept in Washington. The Nation’s Capital leaks like a month-old infant.
From time to time someone obsessed with finding the key to nullifying the 2016 election and restoring Hillary to the White House, has stepped up with something new — not new evidence, but the same old song sung in louder voice, full of noise and gas, only to be revealed as signifying nothing. It’s back to waiting for something next week, or next month or even next year for the bombshell that will rattle the universe, or at least a few of the suburban precincts.
There’s lots of scandal out there, with fuses waiting for the match, and but for preoccupation with Russian collusion some of the more energetic Woodward-and-Bernstein impersonators might stumble upon it. One ambitious reporter, Josh Meyer of Politico, the Capitol Hill political daily, has delivered with a remarkable story on the weekend of how Barack Obama, with connivance of John Kerry, the Obama secretary of State, and John Brennan, Mr. Obama’s director of the CIA, scuttled an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of Hezbollah, one of the most lethal distributors of worldwide terror, because the investigation was getting too close to Iran. Mr. Obama’s obsession was with cutting a deal with Iran, and he cut it by giving the Iranians everything they wanted. Then he set out to avoid upsetting the mullahs. Mr. Obama knew enough about Islam, radical and otherwise, not to hurt the feelings of mullahs.
Called Project Cassandra, the investigation was opened in 2008 to track Hezbollah’s trafficking of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other sordid crime. Some of it was plotted in the United States. One investigator likened Hezbollah to the John Gotti crime family in New York, Gotti the so-called Teflon don who eluded justice for years. In fact, the story does read like the plot of a double episode of a British detective mystery with so many twists, turns and dead-ends that only the man who wrote the script could keep up with them all (and he was never sure). What comes through loud and clear is how Barack Obama, whose first presidential trip was to Cairo to apologize to the Muslims in the name of the United States for being the United States. He and his administration were determined never to disappoint Islam again.
The faces of Project Cassandra were those of John (“Jack”) Kelly, 51, and David Asher, 49, who, working out of a secret DEA safe house near Dulles International Airport, scoured wiretaps and patiently built a network of informants to map Hezbollah mischief with the help of U.S. and foreign intelligence and security agencies. The Politico account describes how Messrs. Kelly and Asher tangled with rival agencies that, in true and tested Washington bureaucratic practice, were sometimes more interested in protecting their turf than the nation’s security.
“But other agents embraced their swashbuckling reputation,” according to Politico, “claiming that more aggressive tactics were needed because the CIA had long turned a blind eye to Hezbollah’s criminal networks, and even cultivated informants within them, in a misguided and myopic focus on preventing terrorist attacks.”
They were so determined, Politico reports, that they damaged their careers by the intensity of the pursuit of the investigation. “It got to the point where a lot of people didn’t want to have meetings with them,” said one FBI terrorism task force who worked often with the two. “They refused to accept ‘no’ for an answer. And they were given ‘no’ for an answer, even though they were usually right.”
Mr. Brennan, the former CIA director, was determined that the United States would embrace Hezbollah as an influence for tolerance and compassion, and this appealed to Mr. Obama’s instinct to blame America first for the sins of its tormentors. Mr. Brennan has been dogged for years by a story that he converted to Islam years ago in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Obama wanted a deal with Iran to cement his “legacy.” Now he has one. It’s just not the legacy he ordered.
• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.
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