By Jamie Crawford
The United States on Wednesday designated a Colombian national as a terrorist for his alleged role directing fund-raising activities in the Americas on behalf of Hezbollah, a U.S. designated terrorist organization.
In addition, the Treasury Department also designated four individuals and three entities for their purported role in laundering money for Ayman Joumaa, an alleged drug trafficker and money-launderer currently under indictment by a U.S. federal court.
"The Joumaa network is a sophisticated multi-national money-laundering ring, which launders the proceeds of drug trafficking for the benefit of criminals and the terrorist group Hizballah," David S. Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial Intelligence, said in a written statement. "We and our partners will continue to aggressively map, expose and disable this network, as we are doing with today's sanctions."
Ali Mohamad Saleh, a Lebanese Colombian national, was designated as a "specially designated global terrorist" for his role directing Hezbollah's fund-raising activities in the Americas, Treasury said in a press release. Previously designated under separate sanctions for his role as a money-launderer for other organizations, Saleh solicited donations for Hezbollah from Colombian business owners and residents, and coordinated the transfer of those funds via Venezuela to Hezbollah's base in Lebanon. He also maintained communication with suspected Hezbollah operatives in Venezuela, Germany, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia the Treasury Department said.
By Barbara Starr
The head of the U.S. Northern Command has a reminder for his troops supporting the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago: no alcohol, no prostitutes.
It comes as the U.S. Southern Command finalizes its probe into the conduct of 12 troops assigned to security for a recent presidential trip to Colombia. Investigations continue into an alleged prostitution scandal involving military and Secret Service agents who were in the South American nation in advance of a trip last month by President Barack Obama.
The U.S. military is about to offer its logistical support to the NATO summit that will be attended by Obama and other heads of state later this month in Chicago. U.S. troops are expected to assist with communications, security, transportation and other functions throughout the high-profile event.
Two veteran senators complained Wednesday that military officials may have been slow to react to an alleged prostitution scandal in Colombia and have not been forthcoming with Congress so far in reporting exactly what happened.
The incident this month before President Barack Obama's trip to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena involved Secret Service and U.S. military members who allegedly consorted with prostitutes.
After their first briefing by military officials on the investigation, Senate Armed Services Committee veterans Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona expressed dissatisfaction Wednesday with the military's response. FULL POST
A 12th military member has been linked to the Cartagena misconduct, a Department of Defense official tells Barbara Starr. A military member working with the White House Communications Agency has admitted to his leadership that he was involved in misconduct "of some kind," the official said.
Those being investigated for allegedly purchasing the services of prostitutes or other misconduct while in Colombia to help with presidential security, have had their security clearances revoked, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Monday.
Panetta spoke to reporters en route to Colombia where he is headed for meetings about military cooperation in his first trip to South America as defense secretary. FULL POST