Several American prisoners may have already been set free and are headed home. However, former FBI Agent Robert Levinson remains missing in Iran.
At the news of the release of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, many cheered, including Levinson’s family. However, the moment is bittersweet. Following the news, the family issued a statement saying, “We are happy for the other families. But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind. We are devastated.” The hashtag #WhatAboutBob is now their social media outcry.
According to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Levinson served the U.S. Department of Justice for 28 years where he joined both the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI. Upon his retirement in 1998, Levinson started working as private investigator. Daniel Levinson, Robert’s son, had also said that his father worked as a CIA contractor. While doing work for some large corporations, Levinson reportedly travelled to Kish Island, Iran on March 8, 2007 where he went missing the next day.
In March 2015, the FBI stepped up its efforts in locating its former agent. The bureau even decided to increase the reward to $5 million for information that would lead to the safe return of Levinson. Iran, back in 2007, had acknowledged that they were detaining Levinson. Today, however, the Iranian government claims they do not know where he is.
At the news of the freed American prisoners, FBI issued a statement saying they “remain committed to bringing him home safely to the family who misses him so much.” They also said they expect their Iran counterparts to help them find Levinson.