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Tag: Iran

FBI Launches Facebook Page in Farsi to Solicit Tips for Missing Ex-Agent Levinson

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In hopes of finding a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran nine years ago, the bureau launched a Facebook page in Farsi for information about his whereabouts.

ABC News reports that the Facebook page is intended to get the attention of the Iranian public.

Levinson, 67, who went missing from Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007, was not among the prisoner swap between Iran and the U.S.

The FBI is offering a $5 million reward for information that would identify his whereabouts.

“The new Facebook page, as well as a missing-person poster and press release in Farsi issued last year, represents the most concerted effort so far to reach Iranians in their native language,” ABC News wrote.

U.S. Prisoner Released from Iranian Custody in Prisoner Swap Was FBI Consultant

iran-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the Americans recently released from Iranian custody as part of a prisoner swap is a former FBI consultant and expatriate who was teaching English when he was imprisoned last May, The New York Times reports. 

Not much was known about Nosratollah Khosravi until he was recently featured by Iranwire, a news service run by expatriate Iranian journalists.

Khosravi left Iran in the 1980s for the United States after the country’s revolution in 1979. He later became a freelance consultant to the FBI before returning to Iran in 2013 to visit his mother.

Khosravi ended up staying to teach English before he was detained by Iranian officials.

As part of a prisoner swap, Khosravi and three other Iranian-Americans were released by Iran in exchange for the United Stated releasing seven people.

Ex-FBI Agent’s Family Feels ‘Betrayed’ by White House Over Handling of Prisoner Exchange

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran nine years ago, lashed out at the Obama administration Monday for failing to notify them that their loved one was not part of a prisoner exchange.

In separate interviews, Robert Levinson’s wife, Christine, criticized the administration after they learned from the media – not the government – that her 59-year-old husband was not among the detained Americans released from Iran.

“We had to learn it from the TV ourselves, and that’s very disappointing and heartbreaking,” Robert Levinson’s wife, Christine, told the Associated Press.

Christine Levinson told ABC News that she felt “devastated” and “betrayed” by the White House.

“I thought after nine years that they would have enough respect for our family to at least tell us in advance that this is happening,” Levinson’s wife, Christine, told ABC News. “It could have been five minutes, but to find out on the TV for the whole family… was wrong. It was absolutely devastating.”

“I’m very disappointed. I feel extremely betrayed by them,” she said.

Levinson disappeared in Iran while on assignment for the U.S. government in 2007.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that he feels “horrible” for the family.

“I know it’s very, very difficult for his family to see these other people come back and to not have answers,” Kerry said.

Deal with Iran Leaves Behind Robert Levinson, Former FBI Agent Who Disappeared in 2007

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Iran freed five detained U.S. citizens Saturday, one family is still heartbroken.

Still missing is Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared off Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007.

“We are happy for the other families. But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind,” the Levinson family said on Facebook. “We are devastated.”

His family said Levinson was discussed with Iran as part of a deal that led to the release of five Americans in exchange for the clemency of seven Iranians in the U.S., but Iranian officials insisted they don’t know where the 67-year-old is, ABC News reports. 

On Sunday, the FBI released the following statement:

Today, the United States celebrates the safe return of four American citizens detained by the government of Iran to their families and loved ones. Unfortunately, the family of retired FBI agent Robert “Bob” Levinson still waits. Bob went missing from Kish Island, Iran in March 2007, and for almost nine years now, Bob’s wife, children, and grandchildren have waited for the release of their loved one. Bob forever remains part of the FBI family, and we remain committed to bringing him home safely to the family who misses him so much. The FBI expects our Iranian counterparts to fulfill their commitment to locate Bob and help bring him home safely.

Ex-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani Minced No Words During Post-9/11 Hearing on Terrorism Threats

Rudolph Giuliani

Rudolph Giuliani

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was a key witness Tuesday at a Congressional hearing on the terrorism threats that remain after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Giuliani didn’t mince words, NY1.com reports. 

“Whatever euphemisms we want to engage in, they are at war with us,” Giuliani said. “By they, I mean Islamic extremist terrorists.”

The hearing was a meeting of the House Homeland Security Committee at the 9/11 Museum at the foot of the World Trade Center site.

Giuliani called for more aggressive actions, especially with threats from ISIS.

Giuliani also expressed concerns about Iran and its nuclear capabilities.

“We are putting the nuclear button in the hands of madmen,” Giuliani said.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Increases Reward for Missing Retired Agent Levinson to $5M

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson was kidnapped eight years ago this month while traveling to an Iranian island, making him one of the longest-held U.S. residents in history.

CNN reports that the FBI has increased the reward for information on Levinson, who also turned 67 this month, from $1 million to $5 million.

“Levinson traveled to Kish Island, Iran, on March 8, 2007, working on behalf of several large corporations, and his whereabouts, well-being and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance have been unknown since that time,” it said in a statement.

Secretary of State John Kerry urged Iran to cooperate.

“He has spent more than 2,900 days separated from those who love him, and is one of the longest held U.S. citizens in history. Year after year, the family has endured the pain of his absence. It is time for him to come home,” Kerry said.

FBI Warns That Iran Is Preparing for Potential Cyber Attack on U.S. Businesses

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Federal investigators have an ever-evolving threat that John Edgar Hoover could never have anticipated – hacking.

The FBI issued a warning to businesses recently about a sophisticated Iranian hacking operation that could soon target energy firms, defense contractors and educational institutions, Reuters reports.

The operation hacked at least 50 businesses in 16 countries last week, according to cyber security firm Cylance Inc.

The firm believes the Iranian government is behind the attacks, but the FBI stopped short of making that conclusion.

Tehran has been spending a lot of money on its cyber abilities.

“They are good and have a lot of talent in the country,” said Dave Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSEC LLC. “They are definitely a serious threat, no question.”

FBI Informant’s Ties to Cyberattacks Abroad Raise Questions About Bureau’s Intentions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Is the FBI using hackers to gain access to intelligence overseas?

The New York Times reports that an FBI informant launched hundreds of cyberattacks on foreign websites, including ones run by other governments, even as the bureau tried to dismantle hacking groups like Anonymous.

New information indicates that the cyberattacks even targeted websites operated by Iran, Pakistan, Brazil and Syria.

What remains unclear is whether the FBI directly ordered the attacks, the Times wrote.

The mastermind behind the attacks was Hector Xavier Monsegur, a hacker within Anonymous, who was arrested and in exchange began working to help the FBI identify other members of the hacking group.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

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