When CIA veterans complain that their old outfit needs to be less risk-averse, I don’t think they have Robert Levinson in mind.The retired FBI agent famously vanished nine years ago on Kish Island, a kind of Iranian Grand Cayman frequented by shadowy arms dealers, counterfeiters, smugglers and, of course, spies. Almost certainly, he was kidnapped by Iranian operatives.
Years would pass before the truth emerged that Levinson had been working for a CIA analytical unit that was making an end run around the espionage wing of the agency and had no business running amateur spies. Now the Iranians have him—if he’s still alive.
All this, and much, much more about the Levinson affair, has been dug up and stitched together by the distinguished New York Times reporter Barry Meier in his important and troubling new book, Missing Man: The American Spy Who Vanished in Iran. Judging by Meier’s account. if ever there was a case for blowing up the CIA and starting over, as many agency oldtimers have argued, the Levinson affair is it. A good beginning would be the formation of a select congressional committee to air out the whole sordid mess. Read more at NEWSWEEK.