web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


When Journalism Can Kill

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

Last week, the oldest and most respected news agency in the United States effectively sentenced an American Jew to death.

In one of the most reckless and irresponsible journalistic acts in recent memory, the Associated Press chose to break the story that Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran almost seven years ago, was gathering intelligence on a rogue CIA mission.

Ever since he vanished, the American government had repeatedly asserted that Levinson was a private businessman, knowing that if his ties with the intelligence community would be revealed, it could put him in grave danger.

And that is exactly what the AP has just done: jeopardize Levinson’s life all for the sake of getting the scoop.

This shameful deed was quickly denounced by Republicans and Democrats alike, and rightly so.

“I hope this information does not impede the release of Mr. Levinson in any way,” said Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He added that, “Many in the intelligence community believe this will push his captors to take his life. I pray this is not the case.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney was also critical of the AP, saying that the report was “highly irresponsible.”

Levinson, who would be 65 years old now if he is still alive, served for 28 years as a special agent with the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration before his retirement.

On March 8, 2007, he traveled to Kish Island in southern Iran, where he was reportedly going to meet a business contact, but he disappeared the following day.

In late 2010 and early 2011, Levinson’s family in Florida received photographs of him in captivity. He could be seen wearing an orange jumpsuit with a chain around his neck and hands as he held up signs before the camera. It was the last sign of life they received from Levinson, and the Iranian government has steadfastly denied that he is in their custody.

Nonetheless, on Friday of last week, Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, who serves as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News that American officials believe Levinson is still alive and is being held by Iran’s fanatical and elite Quds Force.

“He is in the custody of some pretty bad people,” Rogers noted.

Levinson now holds the unfortunate record of being the American held longest in foreign captivity – over 2,475 days and counting – surpassing Terry Anderson, who was kidnapped in Beirut by Hizbullah in March 1985 and who, ironically, worked as a reporter for the Associated Press.

In its defense, the AP noted that it had “first confirmed Levinson’s CIA ties in 2010 and continued investigating. It agreed three times to delay publishing the current story because the government said it was pursuing promising leads to get him home.”

So then why, you might be wondering, did the AP editors now decide to publish the story?

“The AP is reporting the story now,” the agency asserted, “because, nearly seven years after his disappearance, those leads have repeatedly come up empty.”

In other words, the AP has arbitrarily decided to toss caution to the wind and reveal that Levinson was sent on an unauthorized mission to Iran by agents of the CIA.

In a further attempt to deflect blame, the AP helpfully noted: “Top U.S. officials, meanwhile, say his captors almost certainly already know about his CIA association.”

“Almost certainly”?

What if they didn’t? What if the mullahs had failed thus far to uncover Levinson’s intelligence link?

On the basis of “almost certainly,” how could the AP possibly justify endangering Levinson’s life?

This entire episode is reprehensible and brings dishonor to the AP, whose decision makers have shown themselves to be callous and rash, not even bothering to take into account the pain and emotional distress their actions might cause to Levinson’s family.

About the Author: Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “When Journalism Can Kill”

  1. Chaim Szmidt says:

    Let's not forget that with a surname like "Levinson" he's obviously Jewish which automatically makes him bad in the eyes of the AP. Anyone who follows the AP's reporting knows they have no love lost for Israel or dem Jooz! Had Levinson been Faisal or some other Arabic name instead, you can be sure the AP would never have sold him for ten silver talents (the price of a treason and a scoop)

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority TV broadcasts incitement from children's school theater.
Palestinian Authority School Children: Boycott Israel by Killing Jews [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Islamic Relief Worldwide Logo

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Gerstenfeld-032715

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

“Tzedakah tatzil mi-mavet: Charity saves from death”; No death & a tax break? Where do I sign up?

More Articles from Michael Freund
Michael Freund

Speaking in his native German, Schulz used the opportunity to blast Israel.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeieris is browbeating Israel in public.

Ever since he vanished, the American government had repeatedly asserted that Levinson was a private businessman — his own safety.

For the second time in the past three months, Israel on Sunday declared its intention to build over 1,000 housing units in areas beyond the 1967 lines.

Nearly seven decades since the end of World War II, Poland is once again turning on its Jews.

In a stunning move last week, the lower house of the Polish parliament rejected a bill that would have restored the legality of shechita, or kosher slaughter, by a vote of 222 to 178.

Last Friday, the Western Wall underwent an unwelcome transformation from sacred site to media circus as the group known as the Women of the Wall sought to hold a decidedly non-traditional prayer service.

The state of Israel this week turned 65, defying history and the odds to celebrate its continued existence in a very dangerous part of the world.

As I write these words, a Jewish toddler injured in a Palestinian terror attack is lying in a hospital bed struggling for her life.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/fundamentally-freund/when-journalism-can-kill/2013/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: