Hezbollah Counterfeiting US Money?

James Taranto at the Opinion Journal writes that a reader noticed something a little off in Richard Engel’s report from Beirut, Lebanon.

Richard Engel, the network’s Beirut bureau chief, is reporting from southern Lebanon, and at 1:07 in the video, as he’s saying, “In Sidon, we found part of the financial district flattened,” you briefly see an image of what look like uncut sheets of U.S. hundred-dollar bills.

Now, it’s possible to buy uncut sheets from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, at premiums ranging from 12.5% to 275% over face value–but apparently only in denominations of up to $50. Anyhow, somehow we doubt these were collectibles.

A Treasury Department press release dated June 10, 2004, reports that Hezbollah has been involved in counterfeiting American money:

One of the most prominent and influential members of the Hizballah terrorist organization, along with two of his companies, was designated by the Treasury Department today under Executive Order 13224. Assad Ahmad Barakat has close ties with Hizballah leadership and has worked closely with numerous Islamic extremists and suspected Hizballah associates in South America’s tri-border area (TBA), made up of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. . . .

Barakat has also been involved in a counterfeiting ring that distributes fake U.S. dollars and generates cash to fund Hizballah operations. As of early 2001, Barakat was one of two individuals reportedly in charge of distribution and sale of the counterfeit currency in the TBA.

Was this funny money in Engel’s report from Sidon? We don’t know, but it’d be a good question for him to investigate.

LGF found the video of Engel’s report in which you can see what looks like sheets of $100 bills. A LGF reader thinks they may be photocopies meant to record the serial numbers.

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