Iran in the rear view mirror
Usually reliable Iranian sources say that detained American, Robert Levinson, was turned over to American officials in the last 24-hours.
The Iranian source said that “He is no longer here. But because he was never ‘officially detained’ here, no one will say on the record that he has been released. I have again been told to be quiet and that he is definitely in the hands of his countrymen - perhaps in Iraq. This would have been a simple border exchange. I think he will be kept out of site until the summit next week. He will be kept under wraps until the US can figure out a way to reintroduce him. People here expect no credit to Iran for the release before the Sharm el-Sheikh summit. But I am satisfied he is out of this country.”
This information has not been confirmed by U.S. officials. “At this point we are aware of unconfirmed accounts in the media that he departed Iran,” according to State Department spokesman Karl Duckworth. “We are continuing to work with the Swiss to get information on his welfare and whereabouts,” Duckworth said.
FBI spokesman John Miller, when asked to comment on reports of Levinson’s release, told ABC News, "We are hearing the same thing, but we have no way to judge the credibility of that information."
A high level intelligence source in the United States military in Iraq said "it is possible that Levinson has been turned over to Kurds in Iraq with an agreement that no public announcement be made until after a conference between the Iranian Foreign Minister and Secretary Rice next week in Egypt."
“This raises the possibility that the United States military may turnover up to five Iranian diplomats who we have been holding for months as a goodwill gesture as a response to Levinson’s release,” the US intelligence source said.
A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment.
Another source in Iran, who is familiar with the Levinson case said flatly: “Bobby Levinson is out of Iran perhaps he will reappear after the Sharm el-Sheikh meetings on May 3 and 4."
All sounds a little hinky to me, but if Trento's sources are accurate, this is good news indeed.
Don't forget to sign the Free Bobby! petition.
UPDATE: FOX News has also picked up the Trento story; Brian Ross and Vic Walter also have a story posted on their blog at ABC News. Ed Morrisey has a post at Captain's Quarters. See-Dubya at HotAir wonders if a swap for the Irbil Five was part of the price for Levinson's release. That might help explain Bobby Levinson's "layover" in Northern Iraq on his way back home to Coral Springs, FL.
Posted by Rodger on May 1, 2007 at 05:22 PM | Permalink
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