FBI asks for help on missing agent



The FBI has launched a Facebook page in Farsi to solicit tips on the whereabouts of former agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran nine years ago, AP reported on Tuesday.

The new site, which went live in the last few weeks, is part of a broader effort to appeal directly to the Iranian public for information about Levinson’s disappearance.

Levinson, 68, a father of seven from Coral Springs, Florida, vanished during a trip to Iran in 2007, disappearing on Kish Island off Iran’s coast. His family has acknowledged that he had been working for the CIA in a rogue operation.

He was not included in a recent breakthrough prisoner swap between Iran and the U.S., which saw four American citizens freed in return for the release of seven Iranians jailed in the United States.

Levinson’s family later said they were “devastated” to learn that he was “left behind” and not included in the deal.

The last known man to see Levinson alive in Iran has claimed that Levinson was definitely detained by Iranian authorities and is almost certainly still in Iranian custody if he remains alive.

The FBI says it continues to investigate every lead and remains committed to finding Levinson and bringing him home. A $5 million reward for information leading to his whereabouts remains in effect, noted AP.

The news agency also said the FBI has long had an English-language social media campaign aimed at encouraging tips and leads. The new Facebook page, as well as a missing-person poster and press release in Farsi that were already in circulation, represent the most concerted effort so far to reach Iranians in their native language.

The page went live in the two weeks since the prisoner swap was announced, but it had been in the works before then, FBI officials said. Additional pages are planned in the Arabic and Urdu languages, according to AP.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest recently said that Levinson may no longer be in Iran, but no evidence has surfaced publicly to support that idea.

President Barack Obama said after the recent prisoner swap that the United States and Iran would “deepen cooperation” in the efforts to locate Levinson.


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