CQ Homeland Security

If the United States wants to erode the power of Iran’s militant groups, Congress needs to pump more money into operations that combine efforts to stifle the international drug trade with countering terrorism, a former Drug Enforcement Administration official told lawmakers Thursday. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, militant Islamic group Hezbollah began acquiring drugs in the tri-border region of South America and flying the narcotics back through Africa to Europe, said Michael A. Braun, former acting chief of intelligence at the DEA. Braun told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that around the same time, some of the money the United States had been spending on counternarcotics efforts was diverted, allowing the confluence of drugs and terrorism to grow.