Robert Levinson, a former Jewish FBI agent, was working directly for the CIA on a mission in Iran when he was last seen in 2007, the Associated Press stated in an investigative report.
The U.S. government has claimed that Levinson, who is married and has seven children, traveled to the Iranian resort island of Kish as a private citizen. Kish is a popular tourist spot and also is home to criminals and smugglers.
Calling the case “one of the biggest scandals in recent CIA history,” AP reported that Levinson was paid by CIA analysts who had no authority to run spy operations. It also stated that the CIA got rid of three veteran analysts, disciplined seven others and paid Levinson’s family $2.5 million to keep them quiet instead of filing a lawsuit.
The U.S. State Dept.’s first reaction to Levinson’s disappearance in 2007 was, “He’s a private citizen involved in private business in Iran.”
Since then, the CIA link has been known, but no government official has changed the official line. Authorities also asked and received – three times – the news agency’s cooperation in 2010 not to report more details in order not to interfere with attempts to bring Levinson back home.
The last time that Levinson is known to have been alive was in early 2011, when his family received “proof-of-life” photos.