Newsweek: National Security Officials Worry That If Hizbullah Decides to Strike U.S., They Can Exploit Existing Network; Says Former FBI Chief: 'The Fact Is, They Have the Ability [to Attack] in The United States'

Congressman Ed Royce on Iranian Leadership Instructing Hizbullah: 'It Would

Be Enough Say the Word for Hizbullah to Launch an Attack'

Aug 06, 2006, 01:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A handful of money scams uncovered
 across the United States in recent years bearing Hizbullah's fingerprints
 have some experts worried that if orders were given to launch a terror
 attack against the U.S. the means are in place to do so. The FBI has made
 Hizbullah a central target of its counterterrorism efforts, setting up a
 unit dedicated to tracking the group and assigning agents to develop
 sources in Lebanese and other Middle Eastern communities across the
 country, report National Security Correspondent Dan Ephron and
 Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff in the August 14 issue of
 Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, August 7). Security officials worry that if
 Hizbullah does one day decide to strike, it can exploit an already-existing
 network in this country. "You often see in these groups that people who
 deal in finances also have military backgrounds," Chris Hamilton, who was
 the FBI's unit chief for Palestinian investigations until last year, tells
 Newsweek. "The fact is, they have the ability [to attack] in the United
     (Photo: )
     American screw-tightening on Iran over its nuclear program, might
 prompt Hizbullah to issue such an order. Iran is Hizbullah's main political
 and financial backer. "It would be enough for the Iranian leadership to say
 the word for Hizbullah to launch an attack," Congressman Ed Royce, a
 Republican from California who chairs the House subcommittee on
 international terrorism and non-proliferation, tells Newsweek.
     Support for Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah runs high in Lebanese
 communities across the country, and it spikes when Israel's war with
 Hizbullah or with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza heats up. But
 Arab-American leaders complain law enforcers are too quick to equate the
 pride some ex- patriots take in Hizbullah's stand against Israel-or even
 just the sympathy they feel for the Lebanese people-with support for
 terrorism. "Any time somebody sends money to somebody in Lebanon, the
 [prosecutors] say it's for Hizbullah," said Maurice Herskovic, who
 initially represented one of the defendants in a recent case in Detroit.
     Law enforcers say there's been no sign the fighting between Israel and
 Hizbullah, with all the Arab anger it stirs against America, will goad the
 group into action against the U.S. Hizbullah has not targeted Americans
 since the 1980s, when attacks on a Marine barracks in Lebanon and on the
 U.S. Embassy there killed more than 300 people.
 (Read entire story at Click "Pressroom" for news releases.)

SOURCE Newsweek