« The mysterious Mr. Belfield | Main | Silence is golden »


Newsweek gets the dish on Kish


Newsweek's crack investigative team of Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball just posted a story on Bob Levinson—the first coverage of any real depth by a major U.S. news outlet.

Though it doesn't add much to what regular readers of this blog already know, the piece manages to weave the many threads of the story together in a reasonably coherent way—at least given the questions still surrounding Levinson's March 8 trip to Kish Island and the role David Belfield (Dawud Salahuddin) may have played in luring him there.

Still very much unresolved is the question of whether Belfield was trying to lure Levinson to Iran (and hence into the custody of the secret police) or whether Levinson was trying to lure Belfield out of Iran in the hope of bringing him to justice for the 1980 murder of Iranian dissident Ali Akbar Tabatabai.

In a recent e-mail exchange with another American journalist, Joseph Trento of the National Security News Service, Salahuddin acknowledged meeting with Levinson at a Kish hotel. Salahuddin hinted that the former FBI agent—working with [former NBC news producer Ira] Silverman—was trying to lure him to leave Iran. They had tried to "bait" him by offering to share "files" containing a "bombshell" about a former high-ranking Iranian official’s "foreign holdings," he wrote. Although he wasn’t present for the meeting, the e-mail alleges Silverman was in simultaneous communication with Salahuddin to try to get him to cooperate with Levinson. "All the time, Ira [was] pushing a number of buttons to gain my confidence," Salahuddin wrote in one e-mail. But in the e-mail to Trento, Salahuddin also indicates that he became wary because he could not figure out why Levinson and Silverman would "put something in my hand of such a bombshell nature."

I'm inclined to think the "bombshell" Belfield alludes to was actually more of a smoke bomb—and a self-manufactured one—designed to distract attention from Belfield's role in luring Levinson into the hands of Iranian security.

The only detailed account of the meeting on Kish is the one we've gotten from Belfield. The other side of the story belongs to Bob Levinson—and, at least right now, he can't be reached for comment.

Don't forget to sign the Free Bobby! petition.

Posted by Rodger on April 25, 2007 at 11:45 PM | Permalink


The comments to this entry are closed.