MidEast

U.S. Counterterror Chief: Hezbollah Poses Direct Threat to America

The head of the United States National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) said that the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah is “one of the most capable, proficient and professional terrorist organizations in the world,” and that it has the capacity to use its resources “against the United States including here in the homeland,” in a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute on Friday.

“Hezbollah has always been viewed by the intelligence community, and the counterterrorism community as being among the most capable, proficient and professional terrorist organizations in the world with many of the capacities of a state actor, including resource base, including access to technology, including access to state sponsorship,” Nicholas J. Rasmussen said. “We’ve assessed for many years now, that Hezbollah has the capacity to operate on a world-wide scale, to reach out in asymmetric fashion, potentially triggered by an event that is not tied to a particular action by the United States against Hezbollah, but perhaps that might be tied to our potential conflict with Iran or other geopolitical developments. And Hezbollah has the capacity to turn that capability that they have against the United States including here in the homeland.”

Referring to arrests of Hezbollah operatives made last month, Rasmussen warned “that there is a Hezbollah presence of some sort here in the United States.”

“We’ve known all along the Hezbollah looks to lay infrastructure around the world, to give itself options, to develop a playbook, to give themselves an off-the-shelf capability,” he added.

[Photo: UTSystemVideo / YouTube ]