Page 3 Profile: Robert Levinson, CIA spy missing in Iran


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The Independent Online

He does indeed look like he needs help.

Ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, 64, disappeared during a business trip to the Iranian Island of Kish in March 2007. Since then, a handful of photos like this and one video clip have been posted online. But all was not as it first seemed.

Why’s that?

Despite initial claims he went missing while investigating cigarette counterfeiting, an investigation by news agency Associated Press claims he was in fact on an unapproved mission for the CIA. The mission has caused quite a stir. Ten veteran analysts involved in the hiring of Levinson – without the authority to run a spy operation – have been disciplined and the agency has paid Mr Levinson’s family $2.5m (£1.5m) to avoid a lawsuit.

What do his family have to say?

“The US government has failed to make saving this good man’s life the priority it should be,” his family wrote in a statement. The CIA has merely issued this steely statement: “We have no comment on any purported affiliation between Mr Levinson and the US government.”

And Iran?

They claim to have no idea where Mr Levinson is. The photos of Levinson were found to be sent from a phone traced to Afghanistan, while the video was uploaded in Pakistan.

What next?

The FBI offered a $1m reward in March last year. Despite this, they have not received any sign Mr Levinson is alive in nearly three years.