Employed in an unsanctioned operation by rogue CIA officers and imprisoned by the Iranian government, the controversy of Robert Levinson’s disappearance is as surreal as the plot of an action movie. On March 25th of this year, it came to a tragic conclusion when his family officially reconciled with the likelihood of his death in Iranian custody. Thus ends over 13 years of investigation, negotiation, and legislation, ostensibly committed to his safe return.
An ex-FBI agent, Levinson was part of an unauthorized intelligence gathering mission by the CIA whose goal was to recruit an alleged assassin, Dawud Salahuddin, as a CIA informant. This plan went awry in March of 2007, when Levinson, a Private Investigator, disappeared in Kish Island, Iran.
Levinson’s CIA handlers responded to his disappearance by lying to both the FBI and Congressional committees about the extent and true nature of Levinson’s work. Meanwhile, the Iranian government initially denied involvement with his capture, then tacitly implied conversations were ongoing between their intelligence operatives and the United States. Between criminal convictions, media frenzy, and diplomatic maneuverings, Levinson’s family was left with a pittance of concrete information.
Despite assurances of full cooperation between governments, the possible use of diplomatic channels as well as a $20 million reward for information leading to Robert Levinson’s whereabouts, the Levinson family has been left with nothing but grim assumptions. Our condolences go out to them, and to Robert Levinson, callously sacrificed in the name of American opportunism.