WASHINGTON (1) - The family of Robert Levinson, the previous FBI agent who disappeared in March 2007 after touring to an island managed by Iran, mentioned on Wednesday it now believes Levinson died in Iranian custody, based mostly on info from U.S. officers.
FILE PHOTO: Christine Levinson (R), spouse of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, watches as her son Daniel Levinson shows an online print of his father's image to journalists whereas attending a information convention at Switzerland's embassy in Tehran December 22, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN)
President Donald Trump mentioned on Wednesday he had not been informed that Levinson was useless, however issues didn't look good and lots of people thought Levinson had died.
White Home nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien mentioned in a press release later: “Whereas the investigation is ongoing, we imagine that Bob Levinson might have handed away a while in the past.”
Levinson’s family mentioned in a posting on Fb and an internet site: “As we speak with aching hearts, we're sharing devastating information about Robert Levinson, the pinnacle of our family.”
“We lately obtained info from US officers that has led each them and us to conclude that our fantastic husband and father died whereas in Iranian Custody. We don’t know when or how he died, solely that it was prior to the COVID 19 pandemic,” the family mentioned.
The family mentioned they didn't know when, or even when, Levinson’s physique could be returned to them, calling it “the very definition of cruelty.”
Trump referred to as Levinson “a gentleman” and “excellent.” He added, in obvious reference to what U.S. officers had informed the family: “They’ve been making the assertion to the family, I imagine.”
“It’s not trying good; he wasn’t properly for years anyway, in Iran,” Trump mentioned. “It’s not trying promising ... we really feel terribly for the family.”
“It’s not trying nice, however I received’t settle for that he’s useless,” the president added. “They haven’t informed us that he’s useless, however lots of people are pondering that that’s the case.”
O’Brien added in his assertion: “Iran should present an entire accounting of what occurred with Bob Levinson earlier than the USA can totally settle for what occurred in this case.”
Levinson disappeared after flying from Dubai to Kish Island in the Gulf in March 2007. There he met with Daoud Salahuddin, an American Islamic militant who fled to Iran whereas going through costs in the homicide of an Iranian embassy official based mostly in Washington.
Levinson, working then as a non-public investigator, was searching for info on alleged corruption involving former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his family, mentioned sources accustomed to his work.
Months after he disappeared, U.S. authorities sources acknowledged that earlier than touring to Kish Island, Levinson had maintained an unorthodox contractual relationship with the analytical department of the Central Intelligence Company. A handful of CIA officers have been compelled out of the company and several other extra have been disciplined after an inner company investigation.
The Iranian authorities has by no means publicly acknowledged any position in Levinson’s abduction, although on the time of his disappearance a government-affiliated media outlet broadcast a narrative saying he was “in the palms of Iranian safety forces.”
Some U.S. investigators no less than till lately believed Levinson was nonetheless alive, whereas officers at different U.S. companies imagine he died a while, maybe years, in the past.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Further reporting by Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Modifying by Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler