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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: CIA

Hunt Continues for Missing FBI Agent Levinson 11 Years After Disappearance in Iran

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling

It has been 11 years since former FBI agent Robert Levinson was last seen alive.

Levinson, who would have turned 70 years old on Saturday, disappeared while on a CIA operation on Kish Island in Iran.

The Iranian government initially responded that it had detained Levinson but soon backed off that story and has since maintained it has no idea about Levinson’s whereabouts.

“This is something the FBI has never forgotten. His fellow agents have never forgotten Bob,” Tom O’Connor, the head of the FBI Agents Association, told WTOP. “The FBI Agents Association stands with his family and with the FBI in the efforts that everyone is making to reunite Bob with his family.”

The FBI has not given up. O’Connor said.

“There are people that are dedicated to working nothing but the Bob Levinson kidnapping case,” he said.

Some intelligence officials believe Levinson may be dead, but that hasn’t stopped the search.

“By remembering these solemn anniversaries — 11 years is a long time — we hope that somebody will come forward with information. There’s a reward out there, $5 million, for the return of Bob Levinson to his family,” O’Connor said.

“Representatives of the Government of Iran and the United States agreed to cooperate in sharing information which would lead to Mr. Levinson’s return,” the FBI said in a statement on Friday. “The FBI calls on the government of Iran to uphold this commitment so that Mr. Levinson and his family can be reunited.”

In his experience, O’Connor said he’s not giving up hope.

“I’ve worked on hostage cases in the past where someone was held in Iraq for 311 days, and it just was one piece of information that broke and he was reunited with his family,” he said. “People didn’t think that was going to happen and it did, so never give up hope.”

Former CIA Officer Arrested in Alleged Plot to Dismantle U.S. Spy Network

By Steve Neavling

A former CIA officer long suspected of helping China disable the United States’ sophisticated spy network has been arrested and charged in federal court with the unlawful retention of nation defense information that he’s accused of leaking to Beijing.

The arrest of Jerry Chun Shing Lee at Kennedy Airport in New York on Monday capped a five-year investigation spearheaded by the FBI, the New York Times reports

Federal investigators became suspicious that the CIA had within its ranks a mole when the intelligence agency began losing its closely guarded informants in China. The FBI said it discovered Lee, who left the CIA in 2007 and moved to Hong Kong, was leaking the identities of the informants. 

In 2o12, while Lee was visiting family in the U.S., FBI agents scoured his luggage and found two volumes of handwritten notes containing classified information.

The dismantling of America’s spy network has been considered one of the U.S.’s worst intelligence blunders in recent years. 

Hawkish CIA Director Pompeo May Replace Tillerson As Secretary of State

By Steve Neavling

If all goes as planned, hawkish CIA Director Mike Pompeo will leave his post to become President Trump’s next secretary of state, replacing Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with the White House has become strained.

The New York Times also reports that Pompeo likely would be succeeded at the CIA by Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who has aligned himself with the president on national security issues. 

Trump has not officially approved the plan, which was pitched by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

Pompeo, a hard-line former Congressman from the Tea Party wing of the party, has expressed more hawkish views toward Iran, North Korea and other prominent issues.

A West Point graduate, Pompeo has been unusually vociferous and political for a CIA director, soft-pedaling the link between Trump’s campaign and Russia and endorsing regime change in North Korea. 

Sen. Tim Cotton

Some questions remain about whether Cotton would be tapped to become the CIA director. He’s a strong ally on immigration and national security, but Republicans are hesitant to put a Senate seat in play during what could be disastrous mid-term elections for the party.

When asked by Fox News whether he’d take the CIA position, Cotton didn’t answer directly. 

“I’m very proud to be representing the people of Arkansas,” he said.

The New York Times reports that another potential candidate for the top CIA post is Robert S. Harward, a retired Navy vice admiral who turned down the national security position after Michael T. Flynn’s abrupt departure.

5 Wild Discoveries in Release of John F. Kennedy Files

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

By Steve Neavling

The release of more than 2,800 records related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy revealed some unexpected and wild information about spies, surveillance, informants and assassination plots.

Here are five of those findings:

Money offered to kill Castro

A 1964 FBI memo revealed the U.S. offered Cuban exiles $100,000 to kill dictator Fidel Castro, $20,000 for Raul Castro and $20,000 for Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Initially, Cuban exiles initially suggested a larger reward while in a meeting with U.S. officials.

“It was felt that the $150,000 to assassinate FIDEL CASTRO plus $5,000 expense money was too high,” the memo noted.

Russia: VP Lyndon Johnson behind assassination

Russian sources in the KGB insisted it had “data” that showed Vice President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for the assassination of JFK.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a top secret memo to the White House that claimed the assassination was a “well-organized conspiracy.” 

The 1966 memo cited a Russian mole who claimed the assassination was am “ultra-right” plot to create a “coup.”

“They seemed convinced that the assassination was not the deed of one man, but it arose out of a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part,’” said the memo.

Bizarre schemes to kill Castro

The U.S. considered some wild schemes to kill Castro, including an underwater, “booby-trapped spectacular shell” that “would be loaded with explosives” to blow up Castro when her went diving.

“After investigation it was determined that there was no shell in the Caribbean area large enough to hold a sufficient amount of explosive which was spectacular enough to attract the attention of Castro.”

Other assassination plots included contaminating Castro’s diving suit, giving him botulism in his food and sending a lone gunman to shoot the dictator.

“The plans involved a number of bizarre schemes and, in at least one instance, involved some contact with organized criminal elements. Among the means considered were poison, botulism pills, and the use of Cuban Exile groups,” said one intelligence report on Cuba.

Johnson a member of the KKK?

An informant told the FBI in May 1964 that the KKK “had documented proof that President Johnson was formerly a member of the Klan in Texas during the early days of his political career.” 

No documented proof was provided to back up the claims.

Johnson, some say reluctantly, pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to outlaw racial discrimination.

Sex parties involving JFK

A 1960 memo suggests a Los Angeles private investigator approached a “high-priced Hollywood call-girl” for information about sex parties involving then Senator John F. Kennedy, his brother-in-law actor Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

The memo read: The memo read: “She told the agents that she was unaware of any indiscretions.”

Thousands of Undisclosed Documents on JFK Assassination to Be Released

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

By Steve Neavling

More than 3,000 documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are expected to be released by the federal government Thursday.

President Trump said he doesn’t plan to prevent the release of the documents, which include repots from the CIA and FBI.

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted Saturday.

The disclosure is long overdue, said Boston University professor and presidential historian Tom Whalen.

“It might cause some embarrassments to the intelligence agencies because J. Edgar Hoover, who ran the FBI, in previously released documents basically admitted the FBI screwed up on November 22. Lee Harvey Oswald shouldn’t have been a country mile of the presidential motorcade. They should have detained him but the intelligence agencies were not communicating to one another,” he told CBS.

A 1992 law, known as the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, called for the release on the 25th anniversary of the law.

Hacker Who Harassed FBI, CIA Directors Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

Justin Liverman, via LinkedIn.

Justin Liverman, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling

A hacker who exposed private online accounts of the directors of the CIA and FBI, among others, in 2015 has been sentenced to five years in prison.

The Washington Post reports that 23-year-old Justin Liverman harassed leaders at the CIA and FBI and was a member of the “Crackas With Attitude” collective. 

The accounts were breached by a British teenager impersonating officials. Liverman and a co-defendant harassed the victims with the exposed information.

The harassment included threatening and explicit phone messages.

Co-defendant Andrew Otto Boggs was sentenced to two years in prison, and the British teenager is being prosecuted in his country.

Trump: ‘Everyone’ at G-20 Is Talking about DNC’s Handling of Cyberattacks

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling

At the G-20 summit in Germany, President Trump claimed “everyone here is talking about” how Democrats handled cyberattacks during last year’s presidential election. 

It’s unclear why leaders of the world’s wealthiest and developing countries would be caught up in old election news at a gathering designed to promote international financial stability. What’s more likely is that Trump is trying to divert attention away from a very active investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia to meddle in the election. 

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump claimed “everyone is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!”

On Thursday, Trump used the international stage to slam America’s intelligence agencies, the Democratic National Committee, the media, Russia and former President Obama.

Trump Continues to Smear FBI, CIA And Urges Congress to Hear from Carter Page

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump continues to undermine testimony by the directors of the FBI and CIA, saying congressional members investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia should hear from one of his former advisers, Carter Page.

According to Trump’s narrative, he is the victim of a “witch hunt” by disgruntled Democrats who are looking for excuses for losing the presidential election. But even sources inside his administration say the president is looking for any excuse to undermine what is a serious, fact-based investigation. 

Trump wants Page to testify about what he described as faulty testimony from the U.S. intelligence community.

“So now it is reported that the Democrats, who have excoriated Carter Page about Russia, don’t want him to testify. He blows away their case against him & now wants to clear his name by showing ‘the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan…’ Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted, referring to the former directors of the FBI and CIA.

Despite the president’s insistence on smearing the investigation, the White House said Wednesday it won’t respond to anymore questions about the investigation.

Democrats fired back, saying James Comey was ousted as FBI director in an attempt to disrupt an investigation that some experts said could lead to Trump’s impeachment.