web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abu Usamah Somali, thought to be Farah Mohammed Shirdon of Calgary, Alberta in Canada.
Canadian ISIS Fighter Threatens to Behead Netanyahu [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
terrorists

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

obama

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, in better times (left) and in his prison cell (right).

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Senior Hamas and Fatah leaders in Gaza City on April 22. Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to establish a unity government, but since then little progress has been made.

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status

David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?

sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience

Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

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: