FBI offers $1m reward in search for ex-special agent missing in IranBy
Robert A Levinson vanished while in the Persian Gulf with his family in 2007, though the US has evidence he is still alive
The FBI has offered an award of up to $1m for information leading to the location of a former special agent who disappeared in Iran five years ago.
Robert A Levinson vanished while on Kish Island, a Persian Gulf resort, in March 2007. He was 59 years old at the time. Formerly an FBI agent, Levinson was working as a private investigator when he disappeared. His family and American officials say he was investigating cigarette smuggling for a private client at the time of his disappearance.
In December a video of Levinson surfaced showing him alive, if gaunt, a year earlier. Levinson addresses the camera from inside a concrete cell, where he claims to have been held for three years. He said he had been treated well, but implored US authorities to co-operate with his unidentified captors.
“I need the help of the United States government to answer the requests of the group that has held me,” Levinson said at the time.
“Please help me get home. Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something,” he added.
Levinison’s wife and seven children received another e-mail last year containing photographs of him wearing what appears to be orange prison garb and with a full beard. While federal agents were able to trace the emails back to Afghanistan or Pakistan, they were unable to pinpoint their exact source.
On Tuesday, the FBI issued a statement reading: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation will hold a press conference to announce a reward of up to $1,000,000 for information leading directly to the safe location, recovery and return of Robert A Levinson. Robert A Levinson is a US citizen and former FBI Special Agent who disappeared from Kish Island, Iran, five years ago on March 9, 2007.”
The agency announced the reward at a press conference at the FBI’s field office in Washington, DC.
Officials in Iran have denied any knowledge of Levinson’s disappearance. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during a 2010 trip to the United States, said his government was willing to co-operate in the investigation.
Last year, the secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, indirectly referred to the case, saying the US had evidence Levinson was alive.
from Ryan Devereaux