Family of Ex-FBI Agent Lost in Iran Finds Hope in Trump

Thinks president's negotiating skills could bring CIA operative home
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2017 10:03 AM CST
Family of Ex-FBI Agent Lost in Iran Finds Hope in Trump
In this 2012 file photo, an FBI poster showing a composite image of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, right, of how he would look now after five years in captivity, and an image, center, released by his kidnappers, and a picture before he was kidnapped, left.   (Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ten years after a former FBI agent working on an unauthorized CIA mission disappeared in Iran, his family hopes President Trump will be the one to finally bring him home. Robert Levinson's family tells the AP that Trump's background as a deal-making businessman and his harder line on Iran could be an asset in finally determining what happened to the investigator, whose 69th birthday is Friday. They described the heartbreak of seeing other American prisoners in Iran freed while the mystery surrounding his disappearance remains, and acknowledged the challenge of keeping his case in the public eye as he now has been held captive longer than any American in history, if he remains alive. "We believe people can survive 10 years under any circumstances. In the worst places, people survive. We know Bob is alive," says his wife, Christine Levinson.

Levinson disappeared from Iran's Kish Island on March 9, 2007, while on a mission for CIA analysts who had no authority to run spy operations, per the AP. The last evidence of him emerged in 2011, but his family believes he is still alive and that his diabetes and high blood pressure could be under control with his weight loss. The UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a report in January that held Iran responsible for addressing the situation. But "it's going to require negotiating with the Iranians to get him out of there," Levinson's son says. Trump is "very well-suited to be able to do this. We're hopeful for that." White House press secretary Sean Spicer says the Trump administration is in contact with Levinson's family. (Read more Robert Levinson stories.)

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