U.S. Believes Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Has Died: Family

U.S. Believes Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Has Died: Family

"It is impossible to describe our pain", the Levinson family said.

Salahuddin was wanted by the CIA for allegedly murdering an Iranian diplomat in Maryland in 1980, and Levinson hoped the mission to deliver him to the agency would secure him full-time employment with the CIA, the source told Fox News at the time.

The father of seven vanished in March 2007 in Kish, an island that has more lenient visa rules than the rest of Iran, and was said to have been investigating cigarette counterfeiting. "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most awesome man we have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us".

A former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who mysteriously vanished in 2007 died in Iranian custody, his family concluded Wednesday, saying USA intelligence had made them give up 13 years of hope.

At a White House briefing on the coronavirus, Trump resisted confirming the family's account, saying that Iranian officials had not told the US that Levinson was dead and that "I won't accept that he's dead".

The Levinson family thanked multiple USA officials for their help, including FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and O'Brien, who before his post as national security adviser also served as the State Department's chief hostage negotiator.

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement later: "While the investigation is ongoing, we believe that Bob Levinson may have passed away some time ago".

Levinson, who suffered from diabetes, was last seen in a hostage video sent anonymously to the family in 2010, and then in still photographs three years later in which he was wearing an orange jumpsuit, of the kind used in the USA detention camp on Guantánamo Bay. His grandchildren will never meet him.

The family received proof-of-life photos and a video in late 2010 and early 2011, but his whereabouts and fate were not known. They will know him only through the stories we tell them'.

It said at the time that the Central Intelligence Agency paid US$2.5 million to Levinson's wife Christine, accepting responsibility for his disappearance. We are so grateful for their efforts.

Trump, who as a candidate had accused his predecessor Barack Obama of not doing enough for Levinson in negotiations with Iran, noted that the former agent had longstanding health problems. One of those freed was Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who wrote in a memoir past year that an Iranian source indicated Levinson, or answers to his fate, were withheld by the regime as a future bargaining chip for their interests.

"At the same time, upon information & belief, Iran is, & has been, enriching uranium".

Archin, who served as the Defense Department's Iran country director, examined the files last fall following the odd admission by Tehran's judicial system to a United Nations body that an open case against Levinson existed despite 12 years of denials by the regime that he ever was detained there.

Levinson, working then as a private investigator, was seeking information on alleged corruption involving former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his family, said sources familiar with his work. "That would be a very bad step!" he added.



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