Hezbollah in America?

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 1, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, my next guest is very worried that Hezbollah will activate sleeper cells in this country if Iran feels threatened by the U.S.

With us now is Ed Royce. Ed is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on International Relations, Terrorism, and Nonproliferation. Sir, good to have you.

REP. ED ROYCE, R-CALIF.: Good to be with you, Neil.

CAVUTO: How big a threat is this? In other words, if we were to sort of up the ante and get more directly involved, you fear or predict that we would start seeing sleeper cells wake up. What do you mean?

ROYCE: One of my concerns is, Bigdeli, who is the spokesman for Hezbollah, has already said that they have 2,000 agents ready to be dispatched to attack U.S. interests anywhere in the world.

Our own FBI director, Mueller, indicated that they have the operational capacity in the United States. We have arrested 300 Hezbollah agents over the years involved here. And I will just give you one quick example of how they operate, if that's all right.


ROYCE: For example, we have the case of Kourani, Mahmoud Kourani. He paid a bribe, in order to get into Mexico, to a Mexican official.

He then came over the border in the trunk of a car, and subsequently was involved in activity raising funds for Hezbollah here in the United States through credit card fraud.

It's these types of individuals that, in the past, we have been able to monitor, both through this — their sending of money back to their home country, through our terror finance capabilities, and through their phone conversations.

With both of those capacities for the United States now divulged by The New York Times, it is now possible for Hezbollah to know exactly what — what we do to track them. And, so, this is why border security suddenly becomes so important.

CAVUTO: But let me ask you, Congressman. I — I always hear, you know, the — the — the potential devastating news that could — could hit us, that — that something awful is going to happen.

You — you have access to things that folks like myself do not. How likely is that? A lot of people are going to be thinking that, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 coming up. How likely is it that we will be hit again?

ROYCE: Part of this depends, Neil, upon the steps we now take.

In the past, we were able, as I indicated, to arrest 300 Hezbollah agents, because we were able, frankly, to monitor them. Now, in the future, with the knowledge that they have, they're going to be coming in, for operational reasons, over our borders.

This, then, leads to the question, are we now going to pass the House- passed border security bill? Will the Senate bring that bill up and — and pass that to the president's desk?

The question that we have had from experts on border security, including the Border Patrol, including the sheriffs, is whether or not we are going to give them the — the — the tools they need for the first line of defense...

CAVUTO: All right.

ROYCE: ... in order, on the border, to stop the infiltration. And that's the key question...


ROYCE: ... right now.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very much.

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