March 21, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | March 21, 2012
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WASHINGTON - Testifying before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Washington Institute expert Dr. Matthew Levitt stated that Hizballah, the Iran-supported Lebanese group, has the assets and the infrastructure to perpetrate terrorist operations in the United States.
“In the event Hizballah leaders decide an attack on American soil is in their interest, they do have the capability to execute terrorist attacks here in the homeland,” said Levitt, the director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute.
Levitt laid out four potential scenarios for Hizballah violence using its existing networks and resources in the United States and abroad:
- Hizballah could leverage local, U.S.-based networks
- Hizballah could call on local, U.S.-based individuals or networks to provide support to undercover operatives from abroad
- Hizballah could call upon its working relationships with criminal elements in the United States to support or implement an attack.
- In the event of an attack on Hizballah or Iran, Hizballah could issue a public call for retaliation to provoke sympathizers to take action.
Citing recent violent incidents sponsored by Iran and its Hizballah proxy, Levitt said that Iran no longer sees offensive action against the United States or its allies as crossing a “red line.”
For Dr. Levitt’s full prepared remarks, go to: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/html/pdf/LevittTestimony20120321.pdf.
Dr. Matthew Levitt is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute. A former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Dr. Levitt previously provided tactical and strategic analytical support for counterterrorism operations at the FBI, focusing on fundraising and logistical support networks for Middle Eastern terrorist groups. He is also author of the forthcoming book "Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God" (Georgetown University Press).
About The Washington Institute
The Washington Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research institution that advances a balanced and realistic understanding of U.S. interest in the broader Middle Eat. Drawing on the research of its fellows and the experience of its policy practitioners, the Institute promotes informed debate and scholarly research on U.S. policy in the region.