The announcement of the death of the retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who is said to be the longest-held American hostage in history, in Iran has once again opened up a can of worm surrounding the unsanctioned CIA mission in Iran.
It has now been concluded by the Trump advisors that Robert A. Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007 on an unauthorized mission for the CIA, is dead.
Top national advisors briefed the family of the former agent in a meeting at White House, following which the family members of Agent Levinson released a statement on Facebook.
"We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody, "Agent Levinson's family wrote on Facebook.
"We don't know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic."
What mission was Agent Levinson on in Iran?
It is believed that Levinson disappeared from Kish Island, off the coast of Iran, on March 9, 2007. The former FBI agent was requested by his CIA friends to gather intel on corrupt Iranian officials in Kish and it is believed that Levinson obliged as he had to renew his CIA contract.
To say the least, the mission was botched up from the start as it was being run by CIA's analytic corps, which is not trained in the dangerous work of running agents on the field.
Since retiring from the FBI in 1998, Robert Levinson had been operating as a Private Investigator, who specialized in Russian organized mafia and soon he caught the eye of CIA analyst Anne Jablonski. The two became friends and Anne used his experience in tracking illicit financial networks and sent him secretly after drug money in Latin American countries
As per the CIA documents, Levinson was hired as an analyst, he was never meant to be on the field but Jablonski kept everything under wraps and soon sent him after Iranian officials.
The fact that both Anne and Robert were inexperienced and knew little about running operations in Iran contributed to the failure of the op. In Iran, the last person to meet Robert was Dawud Salahuddin, who as per CIA instructions, Robert hoped to groom as a possible informant.
Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam who in 1980 killed Ali Akbar Tabatabai, an Iranian dissident, and critic of Ruhollah Khomeini, and is in exile in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two met at the Kish islands on March 9, 2007, but after that Robert disappeared.
There has been no investigation till now on the role that Dawud might have played in the alleged abduction of Robert. It is believed that Agent Levinson was captured by Iranian intelligence officials
There is no doubt that the CIA was running an unauthorized off-the-book spying network that botched-up an operation simply due to lack of experience.
Agent Robert Levinson's family wants Iran to pay
It is now being confirmed that Agent Levinson's death is not connected to the coronavirus outbreak in Iran and apparently died before its outbreak in February. He apparently suffered from diabetes, gout and hypertension.
"It is impossible to describe our pain," the family wrote. "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most amazing man we have ever known. If not for the cruel, heartless actions of the Iranian regime, Robert Levinson would be alive and home with us today. It has been 13 years waiting for answer."
The US government left him behind for many years, they wrote. The family vowed to make sure the Iranian regime and those who abandoned him know they will not be going away. Members of the Iranian regime must be held responsible, they wrote.