Are U.S. Taxpayers Paying for a Network Infiltrated by Hezbollah?
By Andrew Cochran
December 21/06
Counterterrorism Blog 21.12.06

I received a translation of an Arabic-language article published in the "Moharrer Al Arabi" newspaper on December 15 about the infiltration by Hezbollah of the “al-Hurra” TV station and its sister “Radio Sawa” station in Beirut. These stations are funded by American taxpayers to provide objective news and analysis to the Lebanese people, but if this story is correct, the Administration and the new Congress will have to take corrective action. At a minimum, there should be an investigation of the charges in the article. Here is the translated text of the article as sent to me by a reliable source (with errors uncorrected):
"Syrian intelligence plants female staff, daughters of security officials

'Hezbollah' penetrates the American 'ALHURRA TV' and 'Radio SAWA' and
The Congress ousts the Lebanese director and engenders comprehensive changes
It might be the worst climax of President Bush republican administration is the success of this administration in tolerating Hezbollah to penetrate through its Media and security gaps.

Confirmed information from Washington, Beirut, Dubai and Damascus assured that the party succeeded to infiltrate the two main American means of information, perhaps the only Arabic-speaking, that addresses the Arabic public opinion in order to strengthen its confrontation against al-Qaeda, terrorism and Iran plan to hold grip control on Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine by means of its cat’s-paw and organizations, particularly Hezbollah.

Reliable sources revealed that “al-Hurra” TV station and its sister “Radio Sawa”, oriented towards Arab world and middle-east, have been politically, informational and security transpierced so that Hezbollah party could control wide area of its broad direction or in monitoring the events through.

According to available information, this infiltration was through the Arabic director of al-Hurra who was a member of Hezbollah in 1980s then left for study in the USA, and worked for a short period as side assistant in a television program then a correspondent for an Arabic newspaper published in Paris. After which a partner in a news agency of special task to blackmailing Saudi Arabia and when failed, quit and returned to Lebanon to restore his old connections, adding new relations with the Syrian security, specifically, the official in charge of Syrian regime’s relation with Hezbollah and Shiite’s political action’s activists.

Suddenly, this former member of the party, without scrutiny in his political background, was appointed a director of al-Hurra satellite station and radio Sawa. However, extensive uproar surrounded his administration and deals which was said he conducted, and has becomes subject of wide formal investigation that did not take long to discover traces of connection between him and Hezbollah and the Syrian regime’s security services.

Lebanese quarters disclosed that the carried out investigations which included the appointment of female staff, that their fathers are working with Syrian security services, aimed to reinforce the control of monitoring network in within the TV Station and the Radio, and to insinuate through to the Arabic spectators and listeners.
One political observer in Beirut said: he would not know how it could pass the process of appointing this former member of Hezbollah through the congress in his position as a manager of al Hurra and Sawa, before resigning under the pressure of financial investigation and turn to be an advisor of the institution.
Available information added that “al Hurra” former director and present advisor, also succeeded to employ his wife in the institution, who is a former broadcaster of one Lebanese institution. In addition to her work with detainee major general Jamil al Sayyed, man of Lebanese Intelligence and former director of National Security who managed to consolidate his institution ties with the husband and his wife.

According to information from within the institution, the former director received from Hezbollah and Syrian Security Services two lists, one included a number of those who preferably be away from any media attendance because of their attitude towards the party and the Syrian regime, and the second consisted of a number of those who are supposed to be polished (تلميعهم ) as political analyzers (كمحللين) politicians.

The former director of al Hurra perfectly executed the instructions. He set away those who should be secluded and shaded light upon those who must be shown, and he kept a continuous contact with those he must keep in Beirut and Damascus, providing consultations and receive advice accordingly.
Lebanese sources said, quoted by Lebanese-origin deputies in the new Democratic Congress, that they would reconsider a far-reaching investigation of all what happened inside al Hurra and Radio funded by the Congress, and reform its structure after secluding all those who are suspected to have relation with Hezbollah or Syrian security system, or Iran?"