American ‘business’ tourist to Iran was CIA agent
A recent investigation has found that an American who went missing in southern Iran in 2007 was working for the Central Intelligence Agency in the US.
Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared on March 9, 2007, during a visit to Iran’s Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.
The US State Department insisted that Levinson was a private citizen who had traveled to Kish on private business.
Nevertheless, more than six years after Levinson’s disappearance, the Associated Press has revealed that he was recruited by the CIA to run unauthorized spying operations.
According to the AP, the CIA paid $2.5 million to Levinson’s family in a bid to pre-empt a revealing lawsuit.
Even after they learned about Levinson’s CIA ties, officials at the White House, the FBI, and the State Department did not change the official story, insisting that he was “a private citizen involved in private business.”
The AP first found about Levinson’s involvement with the CIA’s spying operations in 2010; however, they withheld the story several times at the behest of the US government.
The AP’s revelation is based on documents obtained or reviewed by the New York-based news agency and interviews with a number of current and former officials from the US and other countries, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The CIA is generally made up of two groups: operatives, who gather intelligence and hire spies, and analysts, who receive strands of intelligence and decode them.
Although Levinson was recruited by a team of CIA analysts and his contract with the CIA, worth about $85,000, required him to write reports for the agency based on his travel and expertise, he started to gather intelligence from the onset instead of writing reports.
In order to keep Levinson’s operations secret, the CIA had instructed him not to mail any packages to the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, or email documents to US government addresses.
Instead, he had to send the intelligence he had gathered to the private home of a CIA analyst named Anne Jablonski in Virginia and contact Jablonski’s personal email account if he needed any instructions.
Levinson’s whereabouts and captors are not known; however, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in 2011 that Washington believed he was “being held somewhere in southwest Asia.”