The case against Hamas
As we advocated some weeks ago here and here, the Ops Desk could not understand why a criminal case had not been opened against the leaders of Hamas. On October 7th the group killed at least 32 American citizens and kidnapped at least 12. Further, its leaders reside in a (nominal) American ally, Qatar, and the group has financial interests here in the U.S.
Recently, word came that the DOJ had indeed finally opened a case. Now comes word, via Semafor, that the federal Southern District of New York is “racing” to build a case against Hamas’s financial apparatus.
The case apparently focuses on a private equity fund controlled by Hamas — which is, when all is said and done, a designated terrorist group. The Israelis reportedly surfaced this information in 2018, but did not pursue it (?).
There is also the reporting that at least some of Hamas’s activities have been financed by crypto trading.
Your narrator can confirm that, in the counterterrorism world, Hamas was decidedly not a priority for investigators during my tenure doing that work. There was something of a dismissive attitude towards any focus on the group, as if one were taking one’s eye off of what really counted — ISIS, al Qaeda, etc.
Which is understandable. But what is also true: anyone who has ever done intel work knows that — like generals — the risk is that you’re fighting “the last war.” Meaning, you’re focusing on what has been, not on what could be. And as the old saying goes, the bullet that gets you is the one you don’t see.
Should Hamas be a major focus of U.S. counterterrorism officials now? Put it this way: yes.
Gaza is kicking up dust that hasn’t been so disturbed in years, and the follow-on effects of all this will be with us for years. And 2024 is going to feature Hamas counterterrorism cases, heavily.
Oh, and by the way? Close the damn border.
Thanks for reading The Ops Desk. Stay Safe!