Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). ( (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). ( (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said early Friday that he urged the Associated Press not to publish a story about Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared in Iran more than six years ago and had been working for the CIA.

The AP first published the story Thursday afternoon. In the report, the wire service said that it confirmed Levinson's CIA ties in 2010 and had continued its reporting. AP said it had agreed three times to delay publishing the story "because the U.S. government said it was pursuing promising leads to get [Levinson] home."   The Washington Post published a similar story about Levinson later on Thursday.

Nelson, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, took interest in the case after he was approached by friends of Levinson, who is from Florida.