Who is Robert 'Bob' Levinson? Missing FBI agent at the heart of Matt Gaetz's confusing $25M extortion scandal

On March 25, 2020, Levinson's family announced his death, and although the date of his demise is unknown, it is assumed that he died while in Iranian custody


                            Who is Robert 'Bob' Levinson? Missing FBI agent at the heart of Matt Gaetz's confusing $25M extortion scandal
In 2017, Robert 'Bob' Levinson became the longest-held American hostage in history, while a Florida lawyer tried to get Matt Gaetz's father to spend $25 million to free him (FBI/ Getty Images)

The scandal waving around Rep. Matt Gaetz took a remarkable turn on Wednesday, March 31, with the news that a former Air Force intelligence official and a Florida lawyer tried to get Gaetz's former senator father, Donald Gaetz, to cough up $25 million that would be used to free a former FBI agent from Iranian custody and somehow exempt Junior Gaetz from an ongoing federal sex-crimes investigation.

The Washington Examiner got a hold of the document, which was in Gaetz's possession, that details an alleged scheme that revolves around attempts by former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent and Beggs & Lane attorney David McGee, a former federal prosecutor, to free ex-FBI agent-turned-private investigator Robert "Bob" Levinson from imprisonment in Iran.

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Robert Bob Levinson (FBI)

As soon as the news made its way to social media, people started slamming Gaetz, as one said: "What kind of sick f*cks use Bob Levinson’s freedom to gain compliance??? In a slick, sick operation?? I’ve read a lot of things regarding our IC since 2016 but this one takes the cake for me." While another one wrote, "The mystery man at the center of Matt Gaetz’s extortion charges is a former US Air Force intel officer with business interests in the Middle East who has been obsessed for years with rescuing former FBI agent Robert Levinson from Iran. By @talk_spy"



 



 

Another one said: "I for one would be willing to approve a deal with Iran to swap Robert Levinson for Matt Gaetz." While another one dragged President Joe Biden's son into the matter and said, "I have a feeling that Hunter Biden's laptop is going to eventually make an appearance in this saga."



 



 

Who was Robert "Bob" Levinson?

Robert "Bob" Levinson was born on March 10, 1948, was a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent who went missing on March 9, 2007, in Kish Island, Iran. At the time, when he went missing, he was on a mission for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Levinson's family received $2.5 million annuities from the CIA in order to settle a lawsuit exposing details of his work in Iran and to prevent any revelation of details regarding the agreement between Levinson and the agency. He is believed to have been held captive by the Government of Iran, while Iran does not acknowledge his arrest. In 2017, Levinson became the longest-held American hostage in history, exceeding Floyd James Thompson.

Robert Bob Levinson (FBI)

On December 12, 2013, it was reported that Levinson had been working for the CIA, contradicting the U.S. government's statement that he was not an employee of the government at the time of his capture. The U.S. officials had publicly insisted that Levinson went to Iran as a private investigator, working on a cigarette smuggling case. He was on an unapproved intelligence-gathering mission regarding the Iranian government for the U.S. government. When his case came to light inside the U.S. government, it provided a serious scandal. Levinson's travel was designed by three CIA officials who did not follow the usual vetting process or seek the required approval for the mission from their supervisors. In 2008 the CIA forced the CIA officials to turn in early resignations and disciplined seven others after an internal investigation discovered they were liable for sending Levinson on the mission to Iran. Levinson's source on Kish was Dawud Salahuddin, an American refugee accused of the assassination of the prominent former Iranian diplomat Ali Akbar Tabatabaei in 1980. The exiled Tabatabaei was holding meetings of a counter-revolutionary group at his US home at the time.

According to his family, Levinson had many health issues, including type 1 diabetes, gout, and hypertension. His passport has never shown up in any other country. On March 25, 2020, Levinson's family announced his death, and although the date of his demise is unknown, it is assumed that he died while in Iranian custody.

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