The family of former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Robert Levinson announced Wednesday their loved one died in Iranian custody.
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he had not been told that Levinson was dead.
"I'm telling you...it's not looking great, but I won't accept that he's dead". The outlet noted that Levinson was "the longest-held hostage in USA history". They consistently blamed the Iranian regime for his capture and imprisonment, Fox News reported. He reportedly was taking part in an unauthorized Central Intelligence Agency mission. "But a lot of people are thinking that's the case". One of those freed was Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who wrote in a memoir past year that an Iranian source indicated Levinson, or answers to his fate, were withheld by the regime as a future bargaining chip for their interests.
Shortly afterward, Levinson disappeared.
"It is impossible to describe our pain", they said.
White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement on Wednesday: "While the investigation is ongoing, we believe that Bob Levinson may have passed away some time ago". "It has been 13 years waiting for answers". "We expect American officials, as well as officials around the world, to continue to press Iran to seek Bob's return, and to ensure those Iranian officials involved are held accountable". They kidnapped a foreign citizen and denied him any basic human rights, and his blood is on their hands.
Family members have also accused some United States officials of doing too little to help Levinson. Documents his family obtained by an Iranian source and provided to ABC News last fall appeared to show that Iranian military prosecutors ordered him detained on the island on suspicion of spying and held him for months at a military airfield even after he slipped into a coma that they said was caused by his diabetes.
"I mean, I have to say this, and they have been making this statement to the family I believe, but it's not looking good".
The Levinson family thanked multiple USA officials for their help, including FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and O'Brien, who before his post as national security adviser also served as the State Department's chief hostage negotiator. "We will miss his warmth, humor, and wisdom, but most of all, we will miss the deep and unconditional love he had for each one of us. He will never be forgotten - we will make sure of it".
The images showed Mr Levinson, who was 58 when he went missing, with a long grey beard and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, similar to those worn by USA detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
He said that he had not received any word from Iran about the agent's death.
Iran repeatedly has said it has no information about Levinson, though USA diplomats and investigators have long said they thought he was taken by Iranian government agents.
Levinson's family said in a posting on Facebook and a website: "Today with aching hearts, we are sharing devastating news about Robert Levinson, the head of our family". However, it did not prove beneficial.