Thursday, April 26, 2018

U.S. sees Iran behind hostage photos of ex-FBI agent

WASHINGTON — Two years after a hostage video and photographs of retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson raised the possibility that the missing American was being held by terrorists, U.S. officials now see the government of Iran behind the images, intelligence officials told the Associated Press.

Levinson, a private investigator in Coral Springs, disappeared in 2007 on the Iranian island of Kish while investigating cigarette smuggling. The Iranian government has repeatedly denied knowing anything about his disappearance, and the video and photos that Levinson's family received in late 2010 and early 2011 seemed to give credence to the idea.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in March 2011 that Levinson was being held somewhere in South Asia. The implication was that he might be in the hands of a terrorist group or criminal organization.

Two years later, the consensus among some U.S. officials is that Iran's intelligence service was almost certainly behind the video and photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family. The tradecraft used to send those items was too good, indicating professional spies were behind them, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk publicly.

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