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Tag: Iran

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.”

Wife of Slain Journalist Sues FBI for Confidential Records about His Murder

Slain journalist Steven Vincent.

By Steve Neavling

The wife of a journalist who was beaten and shot dead in Iraq in 2015 won’t rest until she gets justice.

But first, Lisa Ramaci needs classified documents from the FBI to go after Iranian officials she believes are behind the death of Steven Vincent, a 49-year-old freelance reporter.

Ramaci has sued the FBI for those documents, saying the bureau has refused to release more than 100 pages of documents, the New York Post reports

Ramadi has filed a civil lawsuit against Iran, its central bank and its national oil company.

Vincent was captured, beaten and shot dead by local police in Iraq a few days after he published an article about Iranian-sponsored radicals.

Wife of Bob Levinson Says FBI Believes Missing Ex-CIA Contractor Is Still Alive

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling

Is Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent and CIA contractor, still alive after going missing on a small Iranian island in 2007?

The FBI believes he is still alive, according to Gevinson’s wife, Christine Levinson.

The family last saw evidence that Levinson was alive when they saw a video of Levinson in late 2010. 

Levinson’s wife said the FBI told her that investigators have “no information to indicate” he’s not alive.

“[The Iranians] are responsible for him. He went missing on Kish Island, which is part of Iran. He was only there 24 hours and they know exactly what happened to him,” she said.

“Iran has said they will investigate and get back to us. Unfortunately, they never get back to us. They’ve said this for 10 years now,” said Levinson, adding she hopes the Trump administration will renew talks with Tehran about her husband.

“I know that President Trump is a deal-maker. He can get the job done,” she concluded.

Family of Missing Former FBI Agent Sues Iran for Kidnapping, Torture

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran a decade ago, is suing the Middle Eastern country.

Levinson’s wife and children filed suit against Iran in U.S. District Court in Washington, CNN reports. 

The family filed suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, claiming “injuries suffered by each of them as a result of Iran’s unlawful acts of hostage taking, torture and other torts.”

If Levinson is still alive in Iran, he would be the longest held civilian by a foreign government. Iran continues to deny involvement in Levinson’s disappearance.

“Three weeks after his disappearance an Iranian government news outlet, Press TV, announced that he had been taken into custody by Iranian security authorities but was expected to be released shortly,” the complaint alleges.

“Despite this report, Robert Levinson was not released and the Iranian government began falsely denying any knowledge of his capture or whereabouts.”

FBI Agents Association Urges Trump Administration to Step Up Efforts to Gain Release of Former Agent Robert Levinson on 10th Anniversary of Disappearance

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel

The FBI Agents Association, which represents more than 13,000 active and former FBI agents, marked the 10th anniversary of former FBI Agent Robert Levinson’s disappearance on Thursday by calling for the Trump Administration and the international community to increase efforts to gain his release.

“It’s time to bring Bob home to his family,” said FBIAA President Tom O’Connor  said in a statement. “FBIAA urges the Trump Administration and the international community to press Iran for information on his disappearance.  We are encouraged by the recent statement by a White House National Security spokesperson that Bob’s case is a priority and that the U.S. will never cease in its efforts to bring Bob home.  We ask anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to come forward to help reunite Bob with his loved ones.”

Levinson is a retired FBI Agent who served 22 years with the FBI and six with the DEA. He traveled to Kish Island, Iran as a private investigator and has not been publicly seen or heard from since his disappearance on March 9, 2007.

“Our message to Bob and his family is that his former colleagues have not forgotten him,” said O’Connor.  We continue to stand with the Levinson family.  Bob has missed a decade of accomplishments and milestones in the lives of his children and his wife, Christine.  We pledge to the Levinson family that we will not let the world forget Bob’s unjustified imprisonment and we will continue to work for his release.”

Justice Department Charges 7 Iranians with Launching Cyber Attacks Against 40+ U.S. Banks

hacking By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department charged seven Iranians who are accused of cyber attacks targeting more than 40 U.S. banks.

One of the suspects also is accused of breaking into the computer network of a small New York dam, the Christian Science Monitor reports. 

The Iranians are accused of launching a campaign of distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks against 46 American companies between 2011 and 2013.

“The attacks were relentless, systematic, and widespread,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a press conference Thursday. “We believe that they were conducted with the sole purpose of undermining the targeted companies and damaging the online operation of America’s free market.”

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department to Blame Iran for Cyber-Attack on Suburban New York Dam

iran_flagBy Steve Neavling

The Iranian government launched a cyber-attack against a dam in suburban New York in 2013, the Justice Department is claiming in an indictment, a source told the New York Post. 

The federal government is drawing up the indictment, which is expected to be handed down soon.

Although hackers were unable to take control of the Bowman Avenue Dam in the suburban town of Rye, they managed to access an unspecified system, the source said.

The hacking has raised big concerns among the Obama administration, which has indicated that cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent.

Metallurgy Company in U.S. Accused of Illegally Exporting Cobalt-Nickel Powder to Iran

iran-mapBy Steve Neavling

The CEO of a metallurgy company in New York is accused of illegally exporting to Iran a powder that could be used to produce nuclear-tipped rockets, the Daily Beast reports. 

The FBI arrested 44-year-old Erdal Kuyumcu of Woodside, New York, of Global Metallurgy, on charges of exporting a half-ton of the cobalt-nickel powder on

The charges come after Tehran agreed to suspend its nuclear program.

The Daily Beast points out that the powdered metal does have “perfectly legitimate applications in industries unrelated to nuclear weapons.”

Nevertheless, the U.S. is concerned about any material that could be used for an atomic-capable rocket.

The Justice Department alleges that Kuyumcu shipped the power to Iran twice without the necessary approval from the U.S.

“To conceal the true destination of the goods from the U.S. supplier, Kuyumcu and a co-conspirator arranged for the items to be shipped first to Turkey and subsequently to Iran,” the Justice Department stated in a release.