Photos Released of FBI Agent Abducted in Iran Six Years Ago
By Alex Johnston On January 9, 2013 @ 2:02 pm In Middle East | No Comments
The family of a former FBI agent who is believed to be held hostage in Iran since 2007 released photos of him Tuesday, in shackles and wearing an orange jumpsuit.
The family of Robert Levinson received five photos of him, heavily bearded, and holding signs reading “why can you not help me” and “I am here in Guantanamo; do you not know where it is?”
“They are very difficult to look at,” his wife, Christine Levinson, told ABC News. “Some of our daughters were crying to me about how upset they were to see them again.” They received the photos of him in late 2010 and in 2011.
In 2007, retired from the FBI but working as a private investigator, Levinson was investigating a cigarette smuggling ring with ties to the Russian organized crime—his specialty—when he was captured in the Iranian island resort of Kish. He has not been seen since.
While Iranian authorities have repeatedly denied any involvement in the disappearance of Levinson, U.S. officials say they are almost certain that the photos and a video taken of Levinson in captivity are the work of Iran’s intelligence service, reports the Associated Press.
“He looked gaunt, he looked miserable and just like life has been tough right now and it’s just very depressing to see him that way,” his son, Dan Levinson, told ABC.
The video of Levinson was sent to his family in December 2011. In the video, which is just under a minute, Levinson said: “Please help me get home. Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something. Please help me.”
Officials involved told AP that the quality of the work to send the files was high and had to have been carried out by professional spies.
American officials were also able to trace the phone used to send the photos, but the owner had nothing to do with them, also suggesting that sophisticated operators were involved.
After nearly six years of captivity, Christine Levinson hopes that the U.S. government will do something about her husband’s case.
“I wouldn’t say [they've] dropped the ball,” she told ABC, “but I believe that more can be done. “
A spokesperson for Iran’s United Nations mission, Alireza Miryusefi, told AP that Tehran is also trying to locate Levinson. “Even his family traveled to Iran and were accommodated by the government. Further investigation proved that Levinson is not in Iran and there is no single evidence that he is in Iran,” Miryusefi said.
“It is a very important to find an FBI agent who had traveled to a free zone of Iran, which if he is found, then the U.S. should explain why the said agent has been sent to Iran and what was his mission,” he added.
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