World

Gaetz Scandal’s mysterious extortion determine was obsessive about a hostage

Tom Williams / Getty

By Jeff Stein

The thriller man on the Florida Republican middle Allegations by Representative Matt Gaetz that he was the target of an extortion scheme to dispel intercourse trafficking expenses is a former US Air Power intelligence officer with industrial pursuits within the Center East who was obsessed for years with rescuing former FBI agent Robert Levinson from Iran.

U.S. intelligence providers concluded years in the past that Levinson, an FBI organized crime professional who disappeared in March 2007 throughout a secret CIA mission to the Iranian island of Kish, had died in custody, both in Iran or within the fingers of Islamic militants. Levinson’s household accepted this discovering final yr.

However Bob kent, a “particular ways / intelligence officer” of the Air Power from 2000 to 2007, was not deterred. He by no means believed Levinson was useless and, in 2018, started assembling a community of Iranian sources in exile in Iraq, the place he was concerned within the oil enterprise, to collect data on Levinson’s whereabouts. and his state of well being. Kent had additionally been an intelligence contractor with the U.S. authorities in Afghanistan, in response to his LinkedIn Page.

His sources had contacts inside Iranian safety organs, Kent advised me three years in the past as I ready a story for Newsweek on his and different personal efforts to save lots of Levinson. He confirmed me the paperwork from the House Workplace and different safety businesses he had obtained, which, upon examination by consultants, turned out to be a combination of clumsy fabrications and real papers of non-provenance. confirmed. He now claims to have “proof of life” movies which the FBI says are “inconclusive”.

Shady silver bushes

In 2018, Kent and his associates advised me that males “with CIA connections” supplied to pay his Iranian assistants $ 100,000 for a proof of life bundle, together with fingerprints and a blood pattern and what he and Kent’s associates claimed to be, 41-second music video of Levinson. “One other $ 150,000” can be wanted “for the rescue,” Kent advised me. However as he ready to go away for the Center East on December 10, 2018, with $ 250,000 in money for funds, he stated, the federal authorities bypassed him on associated sanctions points. to Iran.

“I obtained a telephone name informing me that the funding had been withdrawn as a result of the State Division and / or the FBI threatened my sponsors” with lawsuits, Kent advised me.

Three years later, in response to experiences this week, Kent sought funding for an additional Levinson rescue mission, this time from the daddy of Matt Gaetz, a rich Florida businessman. In accordance with copies of messages obtained by the curator Washington Examiner newspaper, Kent advised Don Gaetz he might make “his son’s future authorized and political woes” go away if he backed a bailout that will find yourself wrapping his son in crowns of glory. Kent reportedly advised elder Gaetz he would give his Congressional son “credit score for the operation” and assist set up “a presidential pardon for unidentified authorized points” if he put in $ 25 million for the operation. ‘operation, in response to the newspaper.

Matt Gaetz, a staunch Trump Republican, is the topic of a Justice Division investigation over whether or not he had intercourse with a 17-year-old lady and whether or not he paid to have her journey with him “. The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing three individuals briefed on the matter. The congressman vehemently denied the cost and stated he was caught in a $ 25 million shakedown for Levinson’s rescue.

Don Gaetz says he met Kent on March 17, who handed him a three-page doc outlining the “Mission Homecoming” bailout, in response to the report. Examiner. Kent requested within the doc that the $ 25 million “mortgage” be deposited within the belief account of the regulation agency Beggs & Lane, within the care of his accomplice David L. McGee, a former federal prosecutor who represented the Levinson household.

Matt Gaetz went on tv Tuesday evening to call McGee in reference to the alleged “extortion” plot.

McGee replied in The daily beast That any declare that he or his regulation agency was concerned within the extortion is’ fully, totally false, ‘including:’ This can be a blatant try and distract from the truth that Matt Gaetz is outwardly about to be charged with intercourse trafficking underage women. “

Suspect unlikely

Karl Milligan, a former senior intelligence detective with the Prince George County Police Division in Maryland who labored with McGee on the Levinson case in addition to a number of different investigations, advised SpyTalk that the fees in opposition to McGee made no sense .

“We have labored collectively on lots of worldwide initiatives and I’ve by no means seen him cross the road,” Milligan stated of McGee in a telephone interview.

“David McGee is essentially the most sincere skilled I’ve ever labored with. I’d be shocked if the allegations had been true.

SpyTalk contacted Kent for touch upon Wednesday. He stated he wouldn’t make any public touch upon the allegations right now.

Co-published with SpyTalk, the place Jeff Stein leads a star group of seasoned investigative journalists, writers and subject material consultants who will take you behind the scenes of the nationwide safety state. Subscribe to get full access to newsletter and website.

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