Saturday marked the sixth year since former FBI agent Bob Levinson went missing on Kish Island, an Iranian resort port in the Persian Gulf.
The 64-year-old father of seven was working as a private detective on a cigarette smuggling case. A hostage video of Levinson was sent to the family in late 2010, and in April 2011 they received photos that were released Jan. 8 out of frustration about not enough being done to bring him home.
Washington has admitted they believe the government of Iran knows more than it claims, and even tried some PR antics in 2011 to deflect blame from Tehran in hopes that the regime would free him. Last year, the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information on Levinson’s whereabouts.
“Finding him remains a high priority for the United States, and we will continue to do all that we can to bring him home safely to his friends and family, so they may begin to heal after so many years of extraordinary grief and uncertainty,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Friday evening.
“The Iranian Government previously offered assistance in locating Mr. Levinson and we look forward to receiving this assistance, even as we disagree on other key issues,” Carney added. “…This year, we again reaffirm our commitment to bringing him home to those who love him.”
New Secretary of State John Kerry chimed in as well. “A husband and father to seven children, Mr. Levinson has missed birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other important milestones since his disappearance six years ago from Iran’s Kish Island. He is also the grandfather of two, the second of which was born in his absence,” Kerry said Friday. “The United States continues to welcome the assistance of our international partners in this investigation and calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to uphold its offer to help find Mr. Levinson and return him safely to his family.”
Kerry added that he met with Levinson’s wife and son “to reiterate that the U.S. Government remains committed to locating Mr. Levinson and reuniting him safely with his family.”
The Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Society) and the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) asked the 20,000 members of both associations to observe a moment of silence on Friday for Levinson.
Levinson served 22 years with the FBI and six with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Let’s make this the last solemn anniversary that needs to be marked by focusing world attention on Levinson’s continued unjustified imprisonment and gaining his release,” said FBIAA President Konrad Motyka.