Diary shows how quest for love landed Navy vet in Iran jail
The Navy veteran kept a handwritten document detailing the nearly two years he spent imprisoned in Iran. The love interest he'd gone to visit had stopped seeing him and he'd idled away hours in his hotel room by himself. “I don’t want the government of Iran to think that, 'Oh, Mike White's out of here, he's going away, he's going to be quiet,'" he said in a recent interview. White ultimately faced various charges, including posting private images, collaborating with the U.S. against Iran and disrespecting Iran's supreme leader. He writes in his manuscript that he has indeed made social media posts about Iran but denies having disparaged Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
US blames Iran in abduction, death of ex-FBI agent Levinson
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration for the first time on Monday formally blamed Iran for the presumed death of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, publicly identifying two Iranian intelligence officers believed responsible for his abduction and imposing sanctions against them. “The abduction of Mr. Levinson in Iran is an outrageous example of the Iranian regime’s willingness to commit unjust acts,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. The Iranian intelligence officers, Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai, are alleged to have been involved in Levinson's abduction and probable death. The men have met with intelligence officials from other countries and also led delegations, U.S. officials say. Even then, his whereabouts and fate were not known, and the Iran government has consistently denied having any information about Levinson.
US court: Iran owes $1.4B over ex-FBI agent presumed dead
Tensions remain high between the U.S. and Iran amid President Donald Trump's maximalist pressure campaign over Tehran's nuclear program. In a ruling dated Thursday, the U.S. District Court in Washington found Iran owed Levinson's family $1.35 billion in punitive damages and $107 million in compensatory damages for his kidnapping. The court cited the case of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died in 2017 shortly after being freed from captivity in North Korea, in deciding to award the massive amount of punitive damages to Levinson's family. In a statement, Levinson's family called the court's award “the first step in the pursuit of justice.”“Until now, Iran has faced no consequences for its actions,” the family said. In December 2013, the AP revealed Levinson in fact had been on a mission for CIA analysts who had no authority to run spy operations.
Detained US Navy veteran freed by Iran as part of deal
White, a Navy veteran who's been detained in Iran for nearly two years has been released and is making his way home, with the first leg on a Swiss government aircraft. White's release was cheered by Trump, whose administration has said it considers the release of detainees and hostages a priority. Despite widespread speculation, Whites release was not related to the deportation to Iran this week of Iranian scientist Sirios Asghari, the officials said. Trump administration officials in recent months stepped up public pressure to release White. The U.S. has also urged Iran to release other Americans jailed in Iran.
FBI chief pledges to find answers on ex-agent Levinson
The email was sent a day after Levinson's family revealed that U.S. government officials had recently told them that they believed Levinson was dead. The death is believed to have occurred before the outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak that has has gravely affected Iran, Levinson's family said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a separate statement Thursday that “only Iran knows for certain what happened" to Levinson. In his email, Wray said the FBI would not give up trying to find out more information about Levinson's captivity. Though the FBI believes he is dead, “this does not mean that the FBI has given up on finding out what happened to Bob,” Wray wrote.