FBI creates Facebook page in Farsi to gather tips in search for missing agent

WASHINGTON - The FBI has launched a Facebook page in Farsi to solicit tips on the whereabouts of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran nine years ago.

See Full Article

The new site, which went live in the last few weeks, is part of a broader effort to appeal directly to the Iranian public for information about Levinson's disappearance and comes as the FBI continues its years-long search for him. Farsi is the predominant language of Iran.

Levinson, now 67, disappeared from Iran's Kish Island in March 2007. A 2013 Associated Press investigation revealed that he was working for the CIA on an unauthorized intelligence-gathering mission.

The case drew renewed attention last month when Levinson was not part of a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iranian governments that set free four other Americans who had been held in Iran's custody, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. Secretary of State John Kerry said at the time that officials did not know whether Levinson was still alive.

The FBI says it continues to investigate every lead and remains committed to finding Levinson and bringing him home. A $5 million reward for information leading to his whereabouts remains in effect.

The FBI has long had an English-language social media campaign aimed at encouraging tips and leads. The new Facebook page, as well as a missing-person poster and press release in Farsi issued last year, represents the most concerted effort so far to reach Iranians in their native language.

The page went live in the two weeks since the prisoner swap was announced, but it had been in the works before then, FBI officials said. Additional pages are planned in the Arabic and Urdu languages.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said last month that Levinson may no longer be in Iran, but no evidence has surfaced publicly to support that idea. Though Levinson was last seen at a Kish Island resort, the Iranian government has never acknowledged arresting him and has said it doesn't know where he is.

In late 2010, Levinson's family received a video that offered proof that he was still alive. In the video, Levinson, who had lost considerable weight, pleaded for help to return home. In April 2011, the family received photos showing Levinson, with unkempt hair, dressed in an orange jumpsuit. His relatives have said that he suffers from diabetes, gout and hypertension.

One of Levinson's children, Daniel Levinson, said in an interview with the AP last week that the family was "devastated" that Levinson was not part of the prison swap and was upset that it had no knowledge the exchange would take place. He said it should be "unacceptable not just to us but to the American people to leave someone behind like that."

"We're not going to go away. We're not going to give up," Levinson said. "We're going to continue pressing."

-----

Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Fugitive lawyer says he's fled the U.S. using fake passport

    World News CTV News
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A fugitive Kentucky lawyer at the centre of a nearly $600 million Social Security fraud case has fled the country using a fake passport and has gotten help from someone overseas with a job to help support himself. Source
  • Pride flag found burned in Taber, Alta.

    Canada News CBC News
    For the second time in as many weeks, a Pride flag flying in Taber, Alta., has been destroyed by vandals. Sometime on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone burned the flag being flown in Confederation Park, near the town hall. Source
  • 'Your actual place in society': Minority Montrealers stung by racial divide at Fête nationale parade

    Canada News CBC News
    When Félix Brouillet saw the first float in Saturday's Fête nationale parade in Montreal, he thought he was looking at a scene out of a 1960s movie about ancient Rome. A white woman in a flowing blue dress stood on the float, which was pushed down St. Source
  • Pride group in Taber, Alta. says their flag was burned

    Canada News CTV News
    TABER, Alta. -- Organizers of a southern Alberta town's first Pride event say they'll raise a third rainbow flag after the first was stolen and the one they replaced it with was burned. Jillian Demontigny of the Taber Equality Alliance says her group was notified Sunday that a police officer noticed damage to the flag and scorch marks up the flagpole while driving past Confederation Park. Source
  • Turkish police fire tear gas on banned LGBT Pride March [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ISTANBUL — As Pride Parade activities across North America have been met by protesters arguing about inclusiveness, other places around the world struggle for the right to even hold marches. Turkish police stopped activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights from gathering in large numbers for an LGBT pride event in Istanbul on Sunday, but smaller groups made impromptu press statements defying a ban imposed by the governor. Source
  • 'I couldn't let that little girl die'; Teen dangling from Six Flags' 'Sky Ride' falls into arms of crowd [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. — A teenager fell about 25 feet (about 8 metres) from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground. Source
  • 'We saw bodies everywhere'; Oil tanker explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153 people [Photos] [Video

    World News Toronto Sun
    BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan — An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 153 people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, a hospital official said as the death toll continued to rise. Source
  • Thank you note from Trump is 'memorabilia' for N.L. political watcher

    Canada News CTV News
    BAULINE, N.L. -- In a world of political cynicism and voter apathy, Doug Kavanagh is the ultimate engaged citizen. And now his growing collection of correspondence with leaders and news editors across Canada and the world has another addition: a thank-you note from U.S. Source
  • Black Lives Matter NYC 'inspired' by Toronto chapter's calls for removal of uniformed police

    World News CBC News
    Inspired by Black Lives Matter Toronto's demonstration at the Toronto Pride Parade last year, members of the activist group in New York City are now calling on the removal of uniformed police officers from their city's parade. Source
  • Police operation unfolds in Moncton, N.B. following report of gunshots

    Canada News CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- Police in New Brunswick have arrested two people in connection with a shooting incident in downtown Moncton on Sunday. Sgt. Andre Pepin of the Codiac RCMP said a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman are in custody following an hours-long police operation. Source