US Citizen Missing in Iran Worked for CIA

Robert Levinson was a rogue operator: AP, Washington Post
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2013 6:36 PM CST
US Citizen Missing in Iran Worked for CIA
This photo provided by the family of Robert Levinson after they received it in April 2011 shows retired-FBI agent Robert Levinson.   (AP Photo/Levinson Family)

Robert Levinson of Florida went missing in Iran in 2007, and the Washington Post and the AP are out with stories today that might better explain why: He was working as a sort of rogue operator for the CIA at the time. Or more precisely, the retired FBI agent was working for a small team of CIA analysts who apparently didn't fill in their superiors about what they were doing, which amounted to running unauthorized spy operations overseas, according to the two stories. The AP calls it "an extraordinary breach of the most basic CIA rules."

After his disappearance, CIA officials said flatly that Levinson wasn't working for the agency, but Levinson's family uncovered emails between him and a CIA analyst named Anne Jablonksi, with whom he was friends. In one sent before his Iran trip, he asked about getting paid, and she told him to deal with her, not the CIA's contract office. “Keep talk about the additional money among us girls," she wrote. Jablonski has since left the agency and could face criminal charges, says the Post. As for Levinson, now 65, the last proof that he was alive came nearly three years ago. The best guess is that Iran is either holding him or knows where he is. The AP says it has held the story three times in recent years, but is publishing now because efforts to free Levinson have gone nowhere. It adds that his CIA affiliation is surely old news to his captors. (Read more Robert Levinson stories.)

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