Share This Page

Kerry denies U.S. has abandoned former agent missing in Iran

| Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 7:54 p.m.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States has not abandoned a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran six years ago and that he personally has raised the issue, according to an interview with ABC News.

Robert Levinson, a private detective and ex-federal agent, disappeared during a trip to an Iranian island in 2007. The White House says he was not a government employee at the time.

His lawyer, David McGee, said on Friday that Levinson was investigating allegations of corruption by well-connected people in Iran. Levinson's family believes the government has “not acted to its full capacities” in trying to free him, he said.

“There hasn't been progress in the sense that we don't have him back. But to suggest that we have abandoned him or anybody has abandoned him is simply incorrect and not helpful,” Kerry said, according to excerpts from ABC's “This Week.”

“The fact is, that I have personally raised the issue not only at the highest level that I have been involved with, but also through other intermediaries,” he said in the interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported that Levinson was in fact working for a rogue CIA operation when he disappeared. Kerry rejected that claim.

The top U.S. diplomat met with Levinson's family on March 8, the day before the sixth anniversary of Levinson's disappearance. Last year, the FBI offered a rare $1 million reward for information that could lead to his safe return.

Iran has said it does not know where Levinson is, but Kerry told ABC he thinks the Iranian government can help find him.

“We're looking for proof of life,” Kerry said. “There are a number of different channels that are being worked aggressively.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.