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Robert Levinson

Where is Robert Levinson?

Five U.S. families celebrated the reported release of their loved ones from Iran as “implementation day” got underway on Sunday.


Sanctions were rolled back as the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Iran had complied with the terms of the nuclear pact it made with world leaders. Interpol deleted 11 Iranians from its “wanted” list.

But one American Jewish family in Coral Springs, Florida was crushed.

“We are happy for the other families,” said the family of Robert Levinson in a statement on Facebook. “But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind. We are devastated.”

Seven Iranian prisoners were traded in exchange for the five Americans who were freed on Sunday, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and a Christian pastor.

But Iranian government officials who originally discussed his release with American negotiators now deny knowing the 67-year-old Levinson’s whereabouts.

In March 2007, Bob Levinson disappeared off Kish Island in Iran. An American Jew in his sixties with diabetes at the time, his family and friends were deeply concerned about his fate.

The U.S. government said at the time the retired FBI agent had been working as a private investigator, and the family confirmed the tale.

But according to a report by the U.S. television network ABC News, Levinson was actually working at the time for the CIA. The family held their peace about the operation for a long time – until they realized that their silence and loyalty was not being reciprocated at the top echelon with equal efforts to free Levinson.

Family attorney David McGee expressed the family’s disillusionment with the government, and his own feeling that the CIA and FBI had betrayed Levinson. “Rather than acknowledge what they had done and try to save Bob’s life, they denied him,” McGee told ABC News.

A U.S. official told a news briefing, “Iran has also committed to continue cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson.”

But for Iranian officials to act as if they don’t know the whereabouts of an American citizen who has been in the country for more than eight years is beyond disingenuous: it’s ridiculous. U.S. officials supporting the behavior insult the intelligence of anyone to whom they repeat such nonsense.

FBI Agents Association President Renaldo Tariche stated that Levinson’s former colleagues have not forgotten him. “Bob, married for 38 years with seven children, has missed more than nine years of accomplishments and milestones in the lives of his children,” he said in a statement. “Each day brings renewed heartache to his family and friends.

“We celebrate today’s release of Americans but the world should not forget Levinson’s continued unjustified imprisonment and continue to work for his release.”

There is a fear among some U.S. officials and analysts that Levinson was left out of the prisoner release because he may not be alive.

Iranian claims of not knowing where he is ring hollow to anyone familiar with Iranian intelligence operations.

The question remains whether he was captured by Iranians, Iranian proxies, or others the Iranians simply refuse to discuss. The other question is whether American authorities have been informed of those details and choose not to disclose that information – and if so, why?


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


  1. Please, someone to suggest what we – the American Jewish Community – should do about Bob Levinson's abandonment by the US gov't, about the unfair & unprecedented treatment of Jonathan Pollard and even Bernie Maddox's unequal treatment compared to Christian financial offenders. Any ideas besides commiserating among ourselves?

  2. No sanctions should ever be lifted against Iran until every American prisoner is released! Especially for an FBI agent serving his country. What happened to no one left behind? Sanctions against Iran were first set up in 1979 because they held Americans hostage. Lifting sanctions while they hold any Americans hostages only emboldens Iran more.

  3. The White House traded terrorists for Bo Bergdahl and Levinson gets left behind. If he’s dead, returning his body home for proper burial would be humane, but honoring Americans who actually served their country isn’t on this administration’s to do list.

  4. He very well may be dead but holding Iran morally and politically over the fire in front of the world would have been an opportunity that other presidents would not have passed up. They ( Muslims) never miss an opportunity to try and spin their version of the truth. Don’t allow this when possible. Obama blew it once again.

  5. Caroline Glick
    8 hrs ·

    Wow. In one day President Obama screwed Israel, American Jewry and world Jewry.
    1. He screwed Israel by implementing the Iran deal which gives our worst enemy $150 billion and nuclear weapons.
    2. He screwed American Jewry by abandoning FBI officer Robert Levinson in Iran, sealing his death warrant and in so doing, made clear that Jews are second class citizens and not worthy of the same protection as all other Americans.
    3. He reportedly agreed to pressure Argentina to stop prosecuting Iran for murdering 85 Jews at the AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994.
    This, on top of the fact that in his SOTU, he spoke at length about “Islamophobia” and hate crimes against Muslims, and said not one word about anti-Semitic hate crimes. He ignored anti-Jewish assaults despite the fact that Jews in the US are at least twice as likely to be attacked in a hate crime as Muslims are. Of course this isn’t surprising from the guy who called the Jews murdered at the kosher supermarket in Paris, “a bunch of guys at a deli.”
    It makes my Jewish blood boil.

  6. According to Islamic sources, one of the signs of yawm al-qiyamah (Judgment Day) and redemption is the appearance of the False Messiah, masih dajjal, sent by Satan in the guise of the True Messiah. He is charismatic and powerful, his skin is the color of bronze, his hair is curly and his eyes flash fire. He pretends to do good deeds, drawing people to him and making them blindly follow him.

    According to the tradition, the False Messiah sows disaster around the world, marking the stage before redemption. The Qur’an says, “You may love something that is bad for you and hate something that is good for you,” a convenient way of cajoling people into doing things they might find distasteful, such as blowing themselves up.

    When U.S. President Barack Obama began his presidency and bowed down before the Islamists at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, we thought he would bring redemption to the Arab world. But his meddling in the Middle East has led to the final dissolution of most of the Arab states. The United States has muscled through a “nuclear deal” that the Iranians will not sign. How could one even expect Iran to sign anything with a country they call “the Great Satan?” Would you?

    As an additional advantage, since Iran has not actually signed anything, they cannot be accused of cheating — not that it would matter to them if they were, given their track record of breaking the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The expected infusion of astronomical amounts cash will enable Iran to complete its nuclear weapons program and intercontinental ballistic missiles along with it; arm Hezbollah even more; spread greater terror and further the Shi’ite takeover of the Sunni regions.

    The delusions of the Carter administration resulted in the overthrow of Iran’s Shah. This experience should have taught the Americans not to allow the overthrow of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. The man was undone by Obama’s comic-book fantasies and unworkable, starry-eyed demands. The rise and survival of Egypt’s current President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — despite the attempt of the U.S. administration to reinstate Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood’s regime — is only due to the will of Allah.

  7. this is all down to Obama – he should have made a full stipulation that all of the prisoners must be released, no matter what their persuasion. – Obama still has Jonathan Pollard harnessed by stealth to the US, not allowed to leave the country for Israel – yes, it is definitely up to him – there have been many alleged spies which have been released within a short period but as with Robert Levisonson, the fact that he is a Jew is more of a bargaining chip. – what a sickening, cruel world this is..! – no, well actually, it is the people in it.

  8. When first reported Mr. Levinson was reported as one of the captives, then nothing else was said about him. The news reports conveniently didn’t mention any more about him, and in reality, I didn’t do the math. I was so happy the Christian pastor was finally released. This is alarming, though.

  9. Clearly our muslamic US President is waging a war against Jews and Christians and raising up iran, which is plotting to blow up the rest of this world, part of the deal is 7 of theirs for 4 of ours which are dual US/Irani citizens and he also promised to drop the investigation into bombing of Jewish Center. We are ashamed of him and his negotiations, we don’t agree with him.

  10. Craig Einhorn you will know people by what they do. Obama does not support Israel, he has given necular capability to Iran who wants to wipe Jews off the face of the earth. Now I'd Iran is not voing to use necular power why give them the materials and a heads up of 21 days for inspection. Time enough to hide things. Muslims will never accept any belief but their own and will not let you have yours. Google the Meades and you will see the Parnell to what they are doing now. Obama critized Christianity and praises Muslims.

  11. Iran is ruling lebanon through hezbollah and gazaa through hamas. So the european union should insist only ira to have talks with isralel and not with the palestine authroity which does not have control over the population. iran cannot go on killing the jews and asking the united nations to solve the palestinian dispute through negotiations with PA

  12. I'm pretty sure everyone released in both countries had Iranian background or dual citizenship. Mr. Levinson is the only one not from Iranian background. The only one not released. Jewish background or not doesn't matter with a name like Levinson because the Iranians would never believe any different. US should demand information and his release

  13. Harold Taback I am really upset at your description of our President. I expect it of the White community I didn't know Jews were just as racist! It's easy to sit around the table and judge but I doubt that any one of us have the credintials to lead a country!

  14. That’s because this POS in the White House is a born and bred anti-semite and is too busy kissing the backsides of the terrorists and betraying the USA and the rest of America’s true allies. He hates not only Jews, but all white Americans as well. And despite all this many Jews backed this bastard in his run for the Presidency and some Jews still do support the .

  15. So we should have left the others to get the CIA agent out? He is not even Jewish so no anti-semitism involved. This should be a joyous day…not a political one. I grieve for this man and his family and I am sure there more secret meetings goiing on to get him out, if he is alive.

  16. Craig Einhorn – Jews are not a race. We are a people. If you want to call other people ignorant, you should probably chose your words more carefully.

    As you have seen, people will ignore any facts that don't fit their current way of thinking, so don't bother trying to convince the Obama haters of anything.

  17. Leonard S Feinman – I am telling you, I know the family. I understand that it was kept quiet in other cases, particularly, Steven Sotloff's, but I can tell you that the Levinson family is a Catholic family. They were fairly observant Catholics when we were growing up. This is not based on rumors, assumptions or anything else. This is based on my own personal knowledge. I was in the same grade at the aame school and had almost all of my classes with one of his daughters. My younger brother was in the same grade and had most of his classes with another daughter. I am Jewish and also fairly observant. I know who is and is/was not Jewish in my group of friends. The Levinson family is not. Mr. Levinson may have had a Jewish ancestor somewhere in his tree that I do not know of, but he was a practicing Catholic.

  18. President Obama as proven numerous time his antisematic behavior towards the State of Israel regardeless of how many jewish frends he has as well as jewish supporter. We as Americans need the push for Levinson whereabouts and release assuming he still alive..

  19. I don't know how it is in the U.S. but British government agents (the equivalent of CIA) in the forties used to agree in advance that if they are caught the government will not stand behind them, and will most likely deny their existence. All part of secret operations.

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