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New Data Guidelines Help Tracking Hezbollah in US

Last week, I testified before the House Homeland Security Committee about Hezbollah capability to attack within the United States, should the group decide to do so. I explained that it is by no means a foregone conclusion that Hezbollah would attack America in the event of an attack on Iran, but also laid out four different scenarios of how they could carry out such an operation.

The day after my testimony the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a press release about revised guidelines allowing the National Counterterrorism Center to access and analyze other federal agencies’ data more effectively. U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies are already taking proactive measures to address each of the scenarios laid out above, and they will benefit from these revised guidelines. The revision grew out of the failure to connect dots of information stove-piped across different agencies prior to the Christmas 2009 “underwear bombing” plot. U.S. counterterrorism officials now have the authority they need to efficiently scan and cross-reference databases of visa applicants, refugees, foreign students, international travelers, and more. As they look for signs of operational activity by Hezbollah operatives known to be in the country, others who may attempt to gain entry, criminal elements with ties to the group, or likeminded and self-radicalized extremists, this new authority will be a tremendous asset.

Dr. Matthew Levitt blogs on counterterrorism, countering violent extremism and combating the financing of transnational threats. Read More