The past week — including this CNN video report — has seen increased pressure on the White House to produce information on former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing from Iran in 2007. The controversy reignited last week after Iran freed a group of prisoners as part of a prison swap, which was a “one-time gesture” and symbolic of the upcoming “Implementation Day.” Indeed, the big day arrived with the U.N. watchdog lifting all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. Several detainees, including the Washington Post‘s Jason Rezaian, found freedom, but Levinson did not materialize with the group, and his family was “devastated.”
Levinson initially disappeared during a visit to Iran’s Kish Island. At the time, the U.S. claimed he wasn’t working for the government, but — and this is nebulous — Levinson’s family later learned he disappeared while working as a “freelance spy” with the CIA. The mission involved Iran’s nuclear program. Five years ago, Levinson appeared in a 2010 video, though no one knows where the video was shot. Levinson, in poor health, begged the U.S. for help. Years later, Levinson’s family believes he is still alive and feels “extremely betrayed.” John Kerry’s official word is that “we have no idea” whether Levinson lives, but Iran will continue to cooperate in efforts to find him.
A new piece from New York Times digs into the matter and emerges with new clues, which are extensive. Two major points show how someone dropped the ball.