|U.S. should admit Levinson worked for CIA: family||
TEHRAN – The family of Bob Levinson, the retired FBI agent, who reportedly went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago, has said that it is time for the U.S. government to lay out the facts about his case.
The Associated Press and the Washington Post reported in December 2013 that Levinson was working for the CIA and that he was on an unauthorized mission on the Iranian Kish Island in 2007.
Iran says it has been cooperating with attempts to learn Levinson’s fate.
Levinson's family has long known he worked for the CIA, a fact they once feared disclosing because the U.S. government told them it could put Levinson in even more jeopardy.
Members of Levinson's family offered the revelation in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, in which they accused the U.S. government of failing to do enough to find him.
"I hope they are hearing our request that (U.S. government officials) acknowledge what he was doing over there and they understand that the family does want this acknowledged now," the missing man's son, Dan Levinson, said. "And we think it would be more of a positive step to getting him home."
U.S. officials have consistently denied publicly that Levinson was working for the government.
At the same time, they have repeatedly insisted finding him and bringing him home is a "top" priority.
"We obviously stand with the family who are the ones who live with every single day that their husband or their father isn't home with them," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. "So we are using every tool at our disposal to help bring him home to his family. We can't, obviously, talk about those."
White House officials have said they believe any recognition Levinson worked for the U.S. government is counterproductive.
But Dan Levinson said the family believes getting his father's work history out into the open gives them the best chance of reuniting with him once again.
His situation gained renewed urgency in December, when the Associated Press and the Washington Post reported that he was working as an independent CIA contractor when he disappeared.
The CNN interview was the Levinson family's first since these news reports publicly revealed the retired FBI agent was working as a CIA contractor at the time of his disappearance.
The family's attorney, David McGee, said documents show "without a shadow of a doubt" that Levinson was a contract CIA operative who traveled extensively overseas recruiting and interviewing sources. One detail provided Tuesday to CNN includes an e-mail the family said was sent by Levinson to CIA officials.
The family said the CIA at first lied to them about the trip.
But after the family's lawyer discovered documents, including e-mails between Levinson and his handlers, the family said the CIA admitted Levinson was working undercover in Iran. Eventually, three CIA employees -- including Levinson's handler -- were fired and seven others disciplined in connection with the case. The CIA paid the family $2.5 million to avoid a lawsuit, McGee told CNN.
The Justice Department is still investigating the CIA with an eye toward possible obstruction charges involving allegations that officials lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about Levinson's status.
Levinson's wife, Christine Levinson, said the FBI is working the case hard, but the government overall should be doing more.
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