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Although the White House declined to say anything further on the matter, the Obama Administration said that the Associated Press’ decision to publish a story on missing American Robert Levinson and alleged ties to the CIA was irresponsible.
As previously reported, on Thursday, the AP published a story that linked Levinson to the CIA, claiming that he was working for the spy agency when he went missing in Iran in 2007. The AP alleged that Levinson’s mission was not approved by the agency at the highest levels and that it resulted in the firing of three analysts. Also, the AP said that it first confirmed Levinson’s CIA ties back in 2010, but didn’t publish the report until this week.
During Friday’s press briefing at the White House, reporters did bring up the story. According to Politico, press secretary Jay Carney called the story “highly irresponsible.”
Carney said that the story likely puts Levinson in “greater danger.” He added that Levinson was not working for the government when he went missing.
Levinson’s mission was assigned by analysts, who do not have the authority to make decisions like that. Three CIA veterans told The Guardian that this could jeopardize intra-agency cooperation.
As for Levinson’s family, they issued a statement asking the government to be more active in its search for Levinson. “It is time for the U.S. government to step up and take care of one of its own. After nearly seven years, our family should not be struggling to get through each day without this wonderful, caring, man that we love so much,” the family said.