Robert Levinson, a 28-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, vanished at a resort off the coast of Iran in March 2007. In the almost seven years since the incident, the US government has maintained that he was a private citizen doing business when he disappeared. However, a sprawling AP report reveals that Levinson, now listed by the FBI as one of the longest held Americans in history, was working for the CIA when he went missing.
One of the longest held Americans in history
Levinson's disappearance was reportedly brought about by a team of CIA analysts who, without the authority to authorize spy work, hired him to gather intelligence on the Iranian government. According to CIA investigators, tensions between analysts and operatives led to the analysts creating an amateur spy operation — with disastrous results. Since then, Levinson has sought help in the form of a video sent to his wife in November 2010 and photos of himself in April 2011, though the trail has long gone cold.
The public, however, has been left in the dark. The AP agreed three times to delay publishing the story because the government insisted it was following promising leads on his location. The New York Times withheld its own report for six years. Meanwhile, the Levinson family was paid upwards of $2.5 million to prevent a lawsuit that would bring the search's secrets to light. With no evidence as to whether or not Levinson, a diabetic, is alive today or not, the search must continue.