There may be hundreds, if not thousands, of Hizbullah agents inside the United States capable of launching a terror attack if U.S.-Iran tensions continue to escalate, said House Homeland Security Committee chief Peter King at a hearing on Wednesday.
King explained that the Lebanese Shi'ites may pose the greatest threat to U.S. national security and that the administration has “a duty to prepare for the worst."
“Pinning down a reliable estimate of the number of Hezbollah operatives who now reside inside the U.S. is difficult because of their operational security expertise. But some officials estimate that, based on cases uncovered since 9/11, there are likely several thousand sympathetic donors, while operatives probably number in the hundreds,” King said.
He continued to note, “Many defendants were known or suspected of having military training or direct combat experience against Israeli forces. Some were quietly convicted of fraud and deported as criminal aliens without their Hezbollah background being publicly disclosed by prosecutors, the Majority’s Investigative Staff has learned.”
The hearing, which featured former government officials and the director of intelligence analysis for the New York Police Department, follows a foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., and testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in late January that Iran's leaders are "more willing to conduct an attack inside the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime," the Huffington Post reported.
King asserted that if Israel attacks Iran, the U.S. could “find itself implicated or involved” in the crisis.
“Having said that, I don’t think we can rule out an Israeli attack,” he said. “I think we have to keep all the pressure out there. … The fact that there can be complications is not a reason why Israel shouldn’t do it or we shouldn’t do it. We have to make sure whatever we do that it is going to work … and realize that Iran cannot be allowed to get a nuclear weapon.”
Commentary Magazine’s Alan Goodman explains that, “King’s hearing will no doubt be used as fodder by Iran’s sympathizers in America, who want to discourage Israel from striking the Iranian nuclear program. But there are greater domestic threats than a radical anti-American regime with ties to terror operatives in the U.S. For example: a radical anti-American regime with ties to terror operatives in the U.S. that also has nuclear weapons.”
Goodman asks, “If there’s broad concern about the threat of Hezbollah operatives in the U.S. now, why would we expect them to be less of a threat if they were backed by mullahs with nukes? Or are we just supposed to pray that Israel and our other allies don’t do anything that might offend the regime once it obtains nuclear weapons, lest its Hezbollah allies retaliate against us domestically?”