The Week’s Best Longreads for December 14, 2013

The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week. By David Sessions.

Invisible ChildAndrea Elliott, The New York TimesThere are more than 22000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression. This is one of their stories.

The Lobotomy FilesJenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber, The Wall Street JournalA cache of musty documents lost to memory exposes a time when the U.S. lobotomized some 2,000 veterans. The nation forgot. But Roman Tritz remembers.

Missing American in Iran Was on Unapproved MissionMatt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Associated PressRetired FBI agent Robert Levinson was arrested in Iran in 2007 and is now the longest-held hostage in American history. Now, a new investigation shows he was working for the CIA—and went on a rogue mission.

State of DeceptionRyan Lizza, The New YorkerCan the intelligence community be reformed?

Reverse-Engineering a GeniusKurt Andersen, Vanity FairHow did Johannes Vermeer manage to create such photo-realistic paintings in the 17th Century—and did he get help? A Texas tech company founder named Tim Jenison decided to try to find out if Vermeer could have used a camera-like contraption to create his art, by recreating one of the paintings himself.

Inside the Power of the NRARobert Draper, The New York Times MagazineIt has been a year since the Newtown shootings. Federal gun laws haven’t changed. Here is why.

For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.com.