Could be. Teodoro Darnott called himself Hezbollah, but he wasn’t really — just a freelance jihadi piggybacking on a famous brand who nonetheless had the will and potentially the ability to cause some serious geopolitical friction. Venezuelan police pinched him two weeks ago and charged him in connection with the pipe bombs left at the U.S. embassy in Caracas on October 3rd. Clint had been following his web activities for months and called the FBI after Darnott posted a threat against U.S. interests on August 18th. (He also filed two video reports for us on the subject; watch part 1 and part 2.)
Why’s this important? Because we’ve got enough known knowns to worry about right now that we don’t need any known unknowns making things worse.
[T]errorists within Venezuela need to keep a low profile. No one wanted a buffoon like Darnott drawing attention to Hezbollah’s presence. Chavez is drawing ever closer to Iran, Hezbollah’s chief sponsor, and before this story broke reporters had already begun to question the relationship between the Iranian embassy in Venezuela and Hezbollah’s activities there…
Also, while Chavez frequently relies on a mythical impending U.S. invasion as an excuse for further tightening his control over his country, the last thing he wants is an actual U.S. invasion. A major strike against an American embassy or ambassador would have invited retaliation from the United States, especially since Darnott was able to recruit terrorists publicly and with impunity all summer long and Chavez had done nothing about him.
El Universal’s writeup includes an admission by a DISIP [Venezuelan secret police] officer that Darnott had been under investigation for three months — and interestingly, his arrest was almost three months to the day from when I reported the bomb threat to the FBI. I’ve no way of knowing this, but I like to think that the FBI let the DISIP know they were interested in Darnott — and thereby made him that much harder for Chavez to ignore.
Well done, Clint. Tom Tancredo would be proud.