The FBI on Tuesday offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the whereabouts and safe return of Robert (Bob) Levinson, a former agent who disappeared in Iran five years ago this week.
The FBI also said it would put up billboards bearing pictures of Levinson in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the region. Levinson is believed to be held hostage in Iran. The FBI often offers a reward for missing persons when an investigation reaches a dead end of sorts, or is in need of assistance from the public.
“Today we stand together to reaffirm our commitment to Bob Levinson,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said at a Washington press conference. “We in the FBI will continue to do all that we can to ensure Bob’s safe return, his safe return to Christine and their family, his safe return to the FBI family, and to the country that he has served so well and so diligently for over 28 years.”
In May 2007, Levinson’s wife, Christine, recorded a video to ask for help in finding her husband. “We are seeking the truth; somebody knows where he is,” she said.
Four year laters, a proof-of-life video was released by Levinson’s unidentified captors. In the video, the aged agent says that his diabetes medicine is running out and that he is “not in very good health.” He does not identify his captors but begs the United States to answer the requests of the group holding him.
When Levinson disappeared in March 2007, The Post reported of his background:
Levinson has “extensive international experience and has focused on criminal activities . . . in Latin America, the Caribbean, Russia and Europe.” . . . He represented the United States while serving on task forces dealing with organized crime and money laundering in Europe and the Eastern bloc . . . [He] retired from the FBI more than a decade ago.
Levinson vanished from Kish Island, Iran, while visiting for a meeting with a private investigator on behalf of a documentary producer. While there, he had a planned to meet with an American fugitive accused of killing a former Iranian official. U.S. officials maintain that Levinson was not acting in any way on behalf the U.S. government or its agencies.
On their “Help Bob Levinson” Facebook page yesterday, the Levinson family wrote: “It has now been 1,823 days that our beloved father . . . has been held hostage. The iPhone was first released 1,711 days ago — our father has never heard of it.” Levinson will be 64 on March 10.
See information on rewards for other kidnappings and missing persons at the FBI Web site.