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A preliminary report issued by the U. S. House Committee on Homeland Security estimates that there could be “hundreds, maybe even thousands” of Hezbollah agents operating in the United States and specifically in New York City.

The report issued following last month’s hearings says that the exact number of operatives is hard to determine.

“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,” the report states. “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.”

Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Clare Lopez agrees there are a significant number of Hezbollah sympathizers and terror cells at work in the U.S.

“During the recent Rep. Peter King hearings on Capitol Hill on Iran and the Hezbollah threat to the homeland, New York Police Department Intelligence Chief Mitch Silber was one of the witnesses,” Lopez said. “Although it was King who referred to ‘hundreds’ of Hezbollah operatives on American soil, Silber did not contradict him and added his own testimony about Iranian U.N. ‘diplomats’ conducting what appears to be, in fact, pre-attack surveillance casing.”

Although Silber hasn’t responded to WND’s request for an interview, he did testify before the committee that Hezbollah is known to have scouted for terrorism targets after the 9/11 attacks.

“We believe this is neither an idle nor a new threat,” Silber said. “Between 2002 and 2010, the NYPD and federal authorities detected at least six events involving Iranian diplomatic personnel that we struggle to categorize as anything other than hostile reconnaissance of New York City.”

“The first event occurred in June of 2002 and involved Iranian Mission security guards. The second event occurred at 2 a.m. on November 16, 2003, when uniformed NYPD officers riding a southbound 7 train observed two males filming the subway train tracks,” Silber said. “The men, who initially claimed diplomatic immunity, turned out to be security guards at the Iranian Mission who had recently arrived in New York. Despite two warnings from the State Department about this inappropriate behavior, in May 2004, two more Iranian Mission security guards were observed videotaping infrastructure, public transportation and New York City landmarks.

“One month later, the guards were expelled by the United States for ‘engaging in activities that were not consistent with their duties’ – in other words, spying,” Silber said.

Report data was compiled by staff members of the committee and other U. S. intelligence agencies, but Florida Security Council President and United West leader Tom Trento says he believes the present administration didn’t contribute much to the report.

“Though the United States Government has the capability to track and extrapolate probable terrorists fairly well,” Trento said, “this particular administration does not see that has a significant issue.”

Trento, who also contributed to the Center for Security Policy Team 2B’s report on Shariah, adds that because of the Obama administration’s lethargy about Islamic terrorism, the figure could also be an unreliable estimate.

“This type of information usually comes from educated guesses by experts often based on leaks from some of the good guys that are still operating in the United States government,” Trento said. “I would conclude that there is a significant ‘fifth column’ of thousands of Muslim bad guys in the U.S., primarily coming through Mexico via help from the cartels.”

Lopez is confident in the figure because of the sources of the information.

“If anyone knows about Hezbollah, it should be the NYPD. The FBI and the CIA also are tasked with responsibility for following this threat,” Lopez said.

“CIA Director George Tenet spoke publicly to the media of at least a ‘dozen’ Hezbollah cells operating in the U.S. as of 2002,” Lopez said. “So, yes, they know they’re here, although I don’t think anyone knows precise numbers, especially given the wide open status of our southern border.”

Lopez said she was surprised the committee tried didn’t address the link between Iran and Hezbollah.

“What astonished me is that no one on the King panel – DEA, FBI, NYPD and DC-area think tanks – would so much as utter one single word about the Iran-Hezbollah, al-Qaida jihad alliance that attacked us already in the homeland on 9/11!” Lopez said.

She said that the hearings and the report were issued after the congressional staff members had received a thorough briefing from the Center for Security Policy.

“This is after I personally briefed at least two congressional staffs, know that King knows, and also I briefed Mitch Silber himself personally about the Havlish case and Judge George Daniel’s December 2011 ruling that Iran provided direct and material support to al-Qaida in those attacks,” Lopez said. “So, why won’t anybody talk about it?”

Lopez was referring to the case Havlish, et. al. versus Bin Laden, et. al., argued in a New York City federal court and decided in December. In that case, U. S. District Judge George Daniels ruled that Iran was involved in supplying and equipping al-Qaida operatives in preparation for the 9/11 attacks.

Lopez added that in the hearings and in her briefings, U. S. officials seemed to purposefully avoid directly speaking about a real terrorist attack on the U. S.

“They all spoke of the ‘potential’ of an Iran-Hezbollah attack on the homeland as some kind of hypothetical event,” Lopez said, “not like something that already murdered 3,000 people right here over a decade ago.”

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