29 Mar 2007

Iranian Sleeper Cells in US

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Richard Miniter warns that Iran have a network of sleeper cells inside the United States that could strike us if we bomb their nuclear facilities.

The consensus view among intelligence analysts, in and out of government, is Hezbollah maintains an extensive network inside the U.S. and Western Europe.

The sleepers in the U.S. may number as many as 800.

This has been the consensus view for some time. There are “hundreds” of Hezbollah members here, a U.S. official told USA Today on May 13, 2003. A senior FBI official told the paper that some 20 potential Hezbollah cells are being investigated.

Senator Bob Graham reiterated to the Miami Herald on Nov. 13, 2002: “recent warnings that Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, had a more established presence in the United States than al Qaeda, and was just as dangerous.” …

Sen. Graham told the Miami Herald that Hezbollah has substantially greater numbers in the United States than al Qaeda.

Hezbollah has killed more Americans since 1982 than any other terrorist group, except al Qaeda.

Most of those are not “operational terrorists,” one American intelligence official cautioned Pajamas Media.

Many are here for illicit fundraising. Some channel donations from mosques or peddle videos and books. Others run criminal enterprises for the terror group, everything from car-theft rings to high-end cons.

One cell was involved in cigarette smuggling, capturing the difference between the wholesale price and the high-tax price paid by consumers. Cigarette taxes range from $1 to $3 per pack. The North Carolina cigarette operation was apprehended by the FBI and prosecuted by the Justice department.

Three Yemeni-born men in Rochester, New York were charged with funneling some $15 million to Hezbollah between 2002 and 2004, according to a filing at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on Feb. 27, 2007. They were caught thanks to a sting operation by the FBI, conspiring to send $200,000 to Hezbollah. The three owned or operated delis, mini-marts and restaurants, from which they allegedly sold fake green cards and engaged in credit card fraud.

Other Hezbollah operatives are here to gather information on potential targets, searching for weak points in schools, malls and office towers.

Still others are foot soldiers who are loaned out Mexican drug cartels, where they serve as bodyguards and enforcers. The Mexicans call them “Turcos.”

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