Robert Levinson was an agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when in 2007, he went missing while working on a covert operation in Iran with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Since then, more questions than answers have arisen about Levinson’s disappearance. Some claimed he likely died a hostage of the Iranian regime. His family has long been searching for answers.
Today, they finally received some, and it turns out, at least according to the Iranian state, Levinson is still alive and in the custody of their Justice Department. The news emerged after President Donald J. Trump offered a $20 million reward for information regarding Levinson’s whereabouts. The cash-starved Iranian regime, with its economy crippled by U.S. Sanctions, took the bait.
“In a filing to the United Nations, Iran said the case over Robert Levinson was ‘on going,’ without elaborating, but the development has renewed questions over what happened to him,” Daily Mail reported. “It wasn’t immediately clear how long the case had been open, nor the circumstances by which it started.”
The FBI had previously offered a $5 million reward for information about Levinson.
“According to the last statement of Tehran’s Justice Department, Mr. Robert Alan Levinson has an ongoing case in the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court of Tehran,” the U.N. filing reportedly said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Court is not exactly known for its openness or for what one would describe as traditional Western-style due process. It quietly handles cases of espionage, attempted coups, and even blasphemy against Islam in the Sharia Law nation.
“For years, U.S. officials would only say that Levinson, a meticulous FBI investigator credited with busting Russian and Italian mobsters, was working for a private firm on his trip,” the report said. “In December 2013, the AP revealed Levinson in fact had been on a mission for CIA analysts who had no authority to run spy operations.”
The few known details about Levinson’s disappearance read like something out of a Hollywood film script.
“Dawud Salahuddin, an American fugitive living in Iran who is wanted for the assassination of a former Iranian diplomat in Maryland in 1980, is the last known person to have seen Levinson before his disappearance,” Daily Mail said.
The Iranian regime has not immediately provided information to prove that Levinson is still alive. It did not release information about his whereabouts, or the nature of the charges against him.
One of Levinson’s daughters, Sarah Moriarty, was encouraged by the news when speaking with the media this week.
“We’re encouraged. This administration is engaged and completely committed to bringing my dad home,” she reportedly said. “They’ve taken it as a personal mission. I think they care passionately about bringing my dad and other Americans home.”
She also challenged the Iranian government to be transparent about the situation.
“If they have charges against him, what are they?” she asked.
The bad news is that many questions about Levinson’s whereabouts and status remain unanswered. But the good news is that, for the moment, it appears that he is alive, and that means that there’s a possibility of bringing him home.
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