Born in Mozyr, Belarus, Levine came to the United States in 1911. He finished high school in Missouri, and found work with The Kansas City Star and later The New York Herald Tribune, for which he covered the revolution of 1917. He would return to Russia in the early 1920s to cover the Civil War for The Chicago Daily News.
He was in Boston to cover the Sacco and Vanzetti trials, during which he formed the Citizens National Committee for Sacco and Vanzetti: "his experience there was one of the factors that eventually turned him against the Party and toward a career exposing the KGB's espionage activities in America and Europe."
For the Hearst papers, Levine was a columnist through the late 1920s and 1930s.
In the spring of 1939, Levine collaborated with the Soviet intelligence agency defector, Walter Krivitsky, for a series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post, exposing the horrors of Joseph Stalin's regime. In November of the same year, the series was collected into a book titled In Stalin's Secret Service. (Levine's role in the writing was not revealed at the time.) In the meantime, Levine arranged a meeting in September 1939 between American Communist Party defector Whittaker Chambers and President Franklin Roosevelt's security chief, Adolf Berle, at which Chambers revealed, with Levine present, a massive spying operation reaching even into the White House that involved, among others, Alger Hiss in the State Department and, according to Levine, Harry Dexter White in the Treasury Department.
Levine edited the anti-communist magazine Plain Talk from 1946 until 1950, but did not join The Freeman, opting for a stint with Radio Free Europe in West Germany instead. Levine also provided testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee in the case against Alger Hiss.
He wrote the screenplay for the biographical movie Jack London (1943). He appeared as himself, as one of the witnesses to the John Reed era, in the movie Reds (1981).
Levine made a brief appearance in Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007) as a friend of Einstein, with whom he had, however, eventually fallen out due to their political differences.
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