The US government has concluded that Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007 while working for the CIA in an unauthorized operation, is dead. This was announced this Thursday by the Levinson family through a statement on a website dedicated to the hostage. “We don’t know when or how he died, only that it was before the Covid-19 pandemic,” read the message. Senior National Security officials showed strong evidence of Levinson’s death to his relatives in the Situation Room of the White House, according to reports The New York Times citing an anonymous source who participated in the meeting.
“We recently received information from US officials that has led them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody,” the family said in their statement. “They kidnapped a foreign citizen and denied him basic human rights, and his blood is on his hands,” they added.
According to the FBI, Levinson was the longest-held hostage in United States history: 13 years and six days have elapsed since his disappearance on Tuesday, but it is unknown when he died. The last proof that Levinson was alive was received by his family in late 2010 and early 2011, when they were sent photos and a video of Levinson visibly aged, with a sign hanging on his chest saying: “This is the result of 30 years working in the service of the United States. “
Levinson went missing in March 2007 during a visit to the island of Kish to gather information about the Iranian nuclear program. The American worked for the CIA in a subversive operation that did not have the necessary approval. The Agency denied for years that the former FBI agent had traveled to Iran in a Langley operation and argued that he was a normal citizen who went missing on a business trip. However, a journalistic investigation by the Associated Press agency revealed in 2013 that Levinson worked for the CIA in an unauthorized operation. Part of the consequences of the scandal was the firing of three veteran analysts, sanctions against seven others, and the payment of two and a half million dollars to the wife and seven children.
“Those who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, including those in the United States government who repeatedly left him behind for many years, will finally receive justice for what they have done,” reads the family statement. In the text, they thanked President Donald Trump and various positions in his Administration for having done “everything possible” to reunite the family. They also called on US and world authorities to “continue to press Iran to send Bob back, and to ensure that the Iranian officials involved are held accountable.”