Robert Levinson Wiki
Robert Alan Levinson (March 10, 1948 – date of death unknown) was an American former Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who disappeared on March 9, 2007, in Kish Island, Iran, while on a mission for the CIA. Levinson’s family received $2.5 million annuity from the CIA in order to stop a lawsuit revealing details of his work in Iran and to forestall any revelation of details regarding the arrangement between Levinson and the agency. He may have been held captive by the government of Iran. On November 26, 2013, Levinson, if he was still alive, became the longest-held American in history, surpassing Terry A. Anderson. According to his family, he suffered from type 1 diabetes, gout, and hypertension. His passport has never shown up in any other country. On March 25, 2020, Levinson’s family announced his death, and although the date is unknown, it has been determined that he likely died while in Iranian custody.
Alleged Iranian involvement
On April 4, 2007, a little over three weeks after Levinson was arrested, an article by Iranian state-run PressTV stated that he “has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9” and “authorities are well on the way to finishing the procedural arrangements that could see him freed in a matter of days”. The same article explained that it was established that Levinson’s trip to Kish “was purely that of a private businessman looking to make contact with persons who could help him make representations to official Iranian bodies responsible for suppressing trade in pirated products which is a major concern of his company”.
On January 8, 2013, the Associated Press reported that “the consensus now among some U.S. officials involved in the case is that despite years of denials, Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family. ‘The tradecraft used to send those items was too good, indicating professional spies were behind them’, the officials said … While everything dealing with Iran is murky, their conclusion is based on the U.S. government’s best intelligence analysis.”
Media reported in August 2007 that Christine Levinson, wife of Robert, was planning a trip to Iran with their oldest son, Dan. The Department of State stressed that there was a travel warning to that country and they would be doing so at their own risk. Iran announced on September 23, 2007, that they would be allowed to visit the country.
In December 2007, Christine and Dan traveled to Iran to attempt to learn more about Levinson’s disappearance. They met with Iranian officials in Tehran and traveled to Robert’s hotel on Kish, the Hotel Maryam. Airport officials allowed Christine and Dan to view the flight manifests for all flights leaving Kish during the time Robert was due to leave, but his name did not appear on any of the lists provided. They were also able to view Robert’s signature from the hotel check-out bill on March 9. Iranian officials promised to provide an investigative report to the family, but have yet to do so. In July 2008 and subsequent interviews, Christine and Dan have said they wanted to travel to Iran again soon.
U.S. officials believed Levinson had been arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. But as every lead fizzled out and Iran repeatedly denied any involvement in his disappearance, many in the U.S. government believed Levinson was probably dead. He was last seen alive in photographs from April 2011, wearing an orange jumpsuit and holding signs apparently asking for help in broken English.
On December 12, 2013, the Associated Press (AP) reported that their investigations revealed that Levinson indeed had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), contradicting the U.S.’s statement that he was not an employee of the government at the time of his capture, U.S. officials had publicly insisted that Levinson went to Iran as a private investigator working a cigarette smuggling case. AP had first confirmed Levinson’s CIA ties in 2010. He was on an unauthorized intelligence-gathering mission about the Iranian government for the U.S. government. When his case came to light inside the U.S. government, it produced a serious scandal. Levinson’s travel was planned by three CIA officials who did not follow the proper vetting process or seek the necessary approval for the mission from their supervisors. Kish Island in the Persian Gulf is a free-trade zone, meaning Americans do not need a visa to enter, a tourist destination and stronghold of international organized crime. In 2008 the CIA forced the CIA officials to turn in early resignations and disciplined seven others after an internal investigation determined they were responsible for sending Levinson on the mission to Iran. Levinson’s source on Kish was Dawud Salahuddin, an American fugitive accused of the killing of the prominent former Iranian diplomat Ali Akbar Tabatabaei in 1980. The exiled Tabatabaei was holding meetings of a counter-revolutionary group at his US home at the time.
What Levinson wanted in that mission remains altogether unclear. Levinson had retired from the FBI in 1998 and had become self-employed as a private investigator; his specialty was Russian organized crime gangs, and he was even interviewed numerous times for TV documentaries to discuss the topic. Both Levinson and the CIA analyst who hired him, Anne Jablonski, specialized in Russian organized crime and not Iranian issues.
In an interview, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of cooperation regarding Levinson’s case. “We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts.”
Robert Levinson Profe Of Life
According to the Associated Press, Levinson’s family received “irrefutable proof” of life late in 2010. On December 9, 2011, the family released a hostage video they received in November 2010. In the video, Robert appears to have lost considerable weight, and repeatedly pleads for help in returning home.
On January 8, 2013, Levinson’s family released photos to the media showing the former agent in an orange jumpsuit with overgrown and unkempt hair. A family spokesman told CNN the photographs were received in April 2011. CNN reported: “Asked why the family is releasing the images now, more than 18 months later, the spokesman said: ‘The family is anxious that not enough is being done. There is frustration with the lack of progress on the case.
Originally from the U.K., Darryl Hinton is a journalist and web content specialist who now lives and writes in Trending Topics of United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Hinton’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard magazine, The Independent, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many other outlets.