Levinson, a retired agent from the FBI, traveled in March of 2007 to Iran’s Kish island to attempt to look into corruption during a time in which he had been discussing a renewal of a contract with the CIA he held for a number of years.
He also had inquired about the reimbursement for the trip to Iran by the agency prior to departing, according to current and former intelligence officials in the U.S.
Following his disappearance officials in the CIA told Congress in hearings that were closed to the public that Levinson had no current relationship with their agency playing down any ties to him. Officials from the CIA said Levinson had not gone to Iran for the agency.
However, months after the abduction of Levinson, emails as well as documents came to light suggesting Levinson did go to the Middle East country of Iran at the direction of CIA analysts, who did not have authority to operate overseas operations.
That prompted a big internal investigation that culminated in wide-ranging repercussions, said officials.
Ten employees were disciplined by the leadership at the CIA, including three analysts who had many years experience and were forced from their jobs, said officials.
The rules were then changed for how analysts must conduct their business with different contractors, including their academics and other experts in subject matters who do not work directly at the CIA, making it hard for employees at the agency to have those types of relationships.
The CIA concluded after much research that it was responsible for Levinson during his time in Iran and paid his wife $2.5 million, said former officials in U.S. intelligence.
The agency paid his family another $120,000, which was the cost for the renewal of his contract.
Levinson’s whereabouts remain unknown while investigators are uncertain whether the man is alive. His last proof of life was over 36 months ago when the Levinson family received video and pictures showing him dressed in a jumpsuit similar to ones worn by detainees in Guantanamo Bay. He was also shackled. Levinson said in his video that he had been there 3½ years and his health was not good.