Was AP right to publish CIA agent exposé despite government objections?

Dec 16, 2013

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) lo

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) logo is displayed in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on August 14, 2008.; Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

It’s being described as the only secret kept hush in Washington for years. Last week, the Associated Press unveiled the alleged CIA connections of Robert Levinson, an American who disappeared in Iran several years ago.

The AP had held back the story, reportedly at the request of the Central Intelligence Agency – which argued Levinson’s life would be endangered after an expose. Levinson’s family, on the other hand, had lobbied privately to get the government to take ownership of the American.

Last week’s AP report identified Levinson not only as a CIA agent working covertly in Iran – but also part of an “unapproved intelligence-gathering mission that, when it came to light inside the government, produced one of the most serious scandals in the recent history of the CIA – but all in secret.”  


Jeff Stein, Contributing Editor and writes SpyTalk for Newsweek – specializes in national security

Geneva Overholser, Former Director, USC Annenberg School of Journalism; independent journalist in

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