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Posts tagged ‘Robert Levinson’

McCain: CIA Misled Congress on Missing American.

Sen. John McCain suggested on Sunday that the CIA has not been forthcoming with the Congress on details about an American who disappeared while on a secret intelligence mission to Iran.

Iran’s foreign minister asserted that Robert Levinson is “not incarcerated by the government and I believe the government runs, pretty much, good control of the country.”

An Associated Press investigation published this past week found that Levinson was working for the CIA — investigating the Iranian government. The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business.

McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN’s “State of the Union” that “the CIA did not tell the truth to the Congress” about Levinson.

McCain said he is confident the U.S. is doing all it can to learn what has happened to Levinson. But he said he is disturbed the Obama administration has not been more forthcoming with information about him.

He said he doesn’t “think there’s any doubt” about whether Iran knows Levinson’s fate.

But Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” where Levinson is, replied: “I have no idea.”

“If we can trace him and find him, we will certainly discuss” returning him to the United States, he added, though he made clear that “we have no traces of him in Iran.”

Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed a suggestion by Levinson’s family that the U.S. government was not doing enough to find out what happened to Levinson.

“There hasn’t been progress in the sense that we don’t have him back. But to suggest that we have abandoned him or anybody has abandoned him is simply incorrect … and not helpful,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”

“The fact is I have personally raised the issue not only at the highest level … but also through other intermediaries. So we don’t have any meeting with anybody who has something to do with Iran or an approach to Iran where we don’t talk to them about how we might be able to find not just Levinson, but we have two other Americans that we’re deeply concerned about.”

Right now, “we’re looking for proof of life,” Kerry said.

Iran’s press counselor at the United Nations called on Washington to explain Levinson’s mission in Iranian territory, after the AP investigation revealed that he had been on an unauthorized assignment for the CIA when he vanished on Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007.

U.S. officials have raised the Levinson case with Iran repeatedly over the years. But until the AP investigation was published, it was not known that Levinson was hoping to gather information in his role as an independent contract investigator who expected to be compensated by a group of analysts at the CIA.

After he vanished, the CIA at first told lawmakers he had previously done contract work for the agency, but he had no current relationship with the agency and there was no connection to Iran. However, in October 2007, Levinson’s lawyer discovered emails in which Levinson told a CIA friend that he was working to develop a source with access to the Iranian government. The emails were turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which touched off an internal CIA investigation.

Three veteran analysts were forced out of the CIA and seven others were disciplined as a result of a breach of agency rules.

The last photos and video of a bearded, emaciated Levinson were released anonymously to his family in 2010 and early 2011. Investigators say his trail has grown cold since.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kerry: ‘Unacceptable’ that North Korea’s Kim Has Nuclear Weapons.

Image: Kerry: 'Unacceptable' that North Korea's Kim Has Nuclear Weapons

By Amy Woods

Calling the regime of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a “ruthless, horrendous dictatorship,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday the execution of Kim’s uncle and former mentor still is being deciphered but points to a man who is unstable at best.

“It tells us a lot about, first of all, how ruthless and reckless he is, and it also tells us a lot about how insecure he is, to a certain degree,” Kerry said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The death of Jang Song Thaek, who was believed to have been the second-most powerful man in the country, is one of several executions Kim has carried out in the recent months, Kerry said.

“North Korea remains relatively opaque, but we do have insights,” he said.

Because of the instability and danger Kim poses to the world, the United States, working with China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, must ensure the future of peninsula is one without nuclear weapons.

“To have a nuclear weapon potentially in the hands of somebody like Kim Jong Un just becomes even more unacceptable,” Kerry said.

Addressing “incorrect” accusations that the United States has abandoned former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who went missing in Iran in 2006, Kerry said he personally has raised the issue of the hostage’s whereabouts.

“We don’t have any meetings with anybody who has something to do with Iran or an approach to Iran where we don’t talk to them about how we might be able to find not just Mr. Levinson, but we have two other Americans that were deeply concerned about,” Kerry said. “I think the Iranian government has the ability to help us here, and we hope they will.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Kerry: US Has Not Abandoned Levinson in Iran.

Image: Kerry: US Has Not Abandoned Levinson in Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States has not abandoned a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran six years ago, and that he personally has raised the issue, according to an interview with ABC News.

Robert Levinson, a private detective and former ederal agent, disappeared during a trip to an Iranian island in 2007. The White House says he was not a government employee at the time.

His lawyer, David McGee, told Reuters on Friday Levinson was investigating allegations of corruption by well-connected people in Iran. Levinson’s family believes the U.S. government has “not acted to its full capacities” in trying to free him, he said.

“There hasn’t been progress in the sense that we don’t have him back. But to suggest that we have abandoned him or anybody has abandoned him is simply incorrect and not helpful,” Kerry said, according to excerpts from ABC television’s “This Week.”

“The fact is, that I have personally raised the issue not only at the highest level that I have been involved with, but also through other intermediaries,” he said in the interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported that Levinson was in fact working for a rogue CIA operation when he disappeared. Kerry rejected that claim, according to ABC.

The top U.S. diplomat met with Levinson’s family on March 8, the day before the sixth anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance. Last year, the FBI offered a rare $1 million reward for information that could lead to his safe return.

Iran has said it does not know where Levinson is, but Kerry told ABC he thinks the Iranian government can help find him.

“We’re looking for proof of life,” Kerry said. “There are a number of different channels that are being worked aggressively.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Eric Walsh)

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


White House Declines to Discuss Levinson CIA Ties.

The White House is declining to talk about any CIA ties of an American who has been missing since a 2007 trip to Iran.

An Associated Press investigation has found that retired FBI agent Robert Levinson was a contractor for the CIA, though the U.S. government has said he was on private business when he disappeared.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response to questions Friday that Levinson was not a U.S. government employee when he went missing, but he wouldn’t comment on whether the man was on contract with the CIA.

He said he was limited in what he could say and criticized the AP report as “highly irresponsible to publish.” He said he wouldn’t say anything that could harm the government’s continued efforts to find Levinson.

“He was not a U.S. government employee when he made that trip,” said Carney, responding to questions about an Associated Press story that said Levinson was working for the Central Intelligence Agency when he disappeared.

“As there is an ongoing investigation into his disappearance, I’m not going to comment further on what he may or may not have been doing in Iran,” Carney said, calling the story “highly irresponsible.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

‘Unimaginable Milestone’ for American Held in Iran.

December 1 marks 2,460 days of captivity for Robert Levinson, the private investigator and retired FBI agent who has been held in Iran since March 9, 2007.

Prior to Levinson, journalist Terry Anderson, who has been imprisoned by Iran’s proxy militia Hezbollah for 2,454 days, and released December 4, 1991, had been the longest held Iranian hostage.

While Levinson, 65, is the longest-held hostage in the Islamic Republic, he is not the only American in captivity. Pastor Saeed Abedini has been held by Iranian authorities since July 2012 on charges related to the promotion of Christianity; Amir Mirza Hekmati, an Arizona native, was arrested while visiting family in August 2011.

The Nov. 24 deal between Iran and six world powers in Geneva, aimed at blocking Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, raised fresh hopes for the release of the three prisoners.

President Barack Obama has appealed twice in the past several months for Iran’s help in resolving Levinson’s case. “We respectfully ask the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return,” a White House statement before Thanksgiving said.

According to the Levinson family, they have received a hostage videotape but the identity and demands of those holding Levinson remain murky.

A tape released by the family in 2011 – it is not known when it was made – shows a gaunt Levinson pleading: “I need the help of the United States government to answer the requests of the group that has held me. Please help me get home. Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something.”

His son, David Levinson, addressing his father’s captors by video, said: “Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely.”

The New York Times reported that emails sent by the captors to the family were routed via either Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Levinson went to Iran on behalf of an unknown private client to investigate cigarette smuggling. Terrorist groups have been known to use such smuggling to finance their operations.

Journalist Laura Rozen reported that Levinson may have had information which implicated high Iranian Revolutionary Guards officials in money-laundering and drug trafficking.

Levinson had gone to Kish Island, a Persian Gulf resort, to meet with David Belfield, an American convert to Islam who goes by the name of Dawud Salahuddin. Belfield, who once described himself as an “angry” and “alienated” African American, is reported to have ties with Iranian intelligence.

In 1980 Salahuddin assassinated a former diplomat in the Shah’s government in Bethesda, Maryland before fleeing the U.S. for Iran.

Officially, Iranian leaders claim not to know anything about Levinson’s disappearance from Kush Island.

In an interview with CNN, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, “We don’t know where he is, who he is. He is an American who has disappeared. We have no news of him.”

Rouhani added, “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.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

Wife Asks Ahmadinejad for Help Finding Missing Ex-FBI Agent Husband.

  • Wife Asks Ahmadinejad for Help Finding Missing Ex-FBI Agent Husband (ABC News)Enlarge PhotoABC News – Wife Asks Ahmadinejad for Help Finding Missing Ex-FBI Agent Husband (ABC News)

As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to speak to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, an electronic billboard in Times Square and subway placards around the city will remind the Iranian president and U.N. delegates of an American who has been missing in Iran for more than five years.

“I’m trying to make the public realize that my husband is the second-longest held hostage in American history,” said Christine Levinson, wife of former FBI agent Robert Levinson. “It’s been five and a half years since he disappeared on Kish Island and two years since we received a video from his captors . . . and we still have no information about Bob since the day he disappeared.”

“This week, with the UN General Assembly in New York,” Christine Levinson told ABC News, “we are trying to get the whole world’s attention. I am hoping we will finally be able to get him home.”

Robert Levinson, a father of seven and grandfather of two, began working as a private detective after leaving the FBI. He disappeared in March 9, 2007 while on a business trip to the Iranian resort island of Kish. U.S. officials believe he is being held by unknown captors in Southwest Asia.

Five months after his disappearance, against the advice of the U.S. government, Christine Levinson and her son traveled to Tehran to conduct their own investigation, but the trip yielded no results.

The Levinson family received a so-called “proof of life” video in late 2010 showing Levinson, who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, in deteriorating health. Levinson, who was 62 at the time, addressed Christine as “my beautiful, my loving, my loyal wife” and referred to his 33 years of service to the federal government before pleading for help from U.S. authorities.

Christine Levinson is now appealing directly to Ahmadinejad, who is under the international spotlight as he prefers to give his final speech to the U.N. as Iranian president. He leaves office next year. “In the past he has said that he will investigate and he will have his people investigate,” Levinson told CNN. “He has promised to help us. So we need to get him in touch with whoever can help us get the job done and get Bob home.”

Pictures of Levinson began appearing on subway placards in Midtown Manhattan last week. The signs, and a Times Square billboard, feature a picture of Levinson next to the word “Missing” and ask United Nations delegates to “encourage the Islamic Republic of Iran to work with the U.S. to bring Bob home.”

This year the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information. The case has frustrated investigators, whose diplomatic strategies have failed.

“We ask ourselves how is it possible that someone — especially someone 6’4? and (then) 225 pounds — disappears without a trace,” reads a statement from the Levinsons on the family’s website.

Iranian representatives did not respond immediately to a request for comment.



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