An investigation by The Associated Press (AP) has revealed that an American who disappeared seven years ago in Iran was working for the Central Intelligence Acency (CIA).
In 2007, retired Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Robert Levinson flew to Kish, a tiny Iranian island awash with tourists, smugglers and organised crime figures.
After an arranged meeting with an admitted killer, he checked out of his hotel and vanished.
For years, the US publicly described him as a private individual who disappeared while on private business.
The AP investigation found that that was just a cover story and Levinson was working for the CIA.
Immediately after Levinson’s disappearance in 2007, the CIA acknowledged to Congress that the American had previously work for the agency as a contractor. But it insisted that it had no current relationship with Levinson and that there was no connection to Iran.
Levinson’s family travelled to Tehran later in 2007 to find out what happened to him but came up with nothing.
In a 2010 interview, the then president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said his country was willing to help find Levinson:
“I am not aware of where the individuals that you named are being held. Of course, I have heard Robert Levinson’s name before and I asked the intelligence community to help the US intelligence to help locate him, but I am not aware of any results from it,” he said.
Levinson’s family hope that he is still alive. Some people working for the US government think he may be dead. Either way, the FBI remains committed to bringing him home.