U.S. officials have not said what proof of his survival has been obtained. More information is expected to be released later today.
Surge Desk has five facts on Levinson, whose family reportedly learned he was alive late last year.
1. He was in Iran as a private investigator
After retiring from the FBI in 1998, Levinson worked as a private investigator. According to his relatives, a cigarette smuggling investigation took him to Kish, a resort island and free trade zone off the coast of Iran.
2. He disappeared after meeting with a fugitive
According to a Christian Science Monitor report, Levinson vanished after having a meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, who was wanted in connection with the assassination of a former Iranian diplomat. Salahuddin told news media after Levinson's disappearance that the two men had met in a hotel; Salahuddin claimed he was detained by Iranian authorities after the meeting, and when he was released, Levinson was gone.
3. Iranian state media raised suspicions
Shortly after he disappeared Press TV, an Iranian state-run media outlet, ran a report saying that Levinson was "in the hands of Iranian security forces." No additional information was provided, and the U.S. was unable to confirm Levinson's whereabouts or any involvement on the part of the Iranian government.
4. His family fought to find him
Levinson's wife Christine made multiple visits to Iran to speak with police and officials there. His son Daniel Levinson wrote in The Washington Post in 2008: "Our family has not given up hope; we firmly believe our beloved father and husband is still alive. Somewhere in Iran he is waiting for us to find him, and we ask God every day to guide us in bringing him home."
5. He's currently "somewhere in southwest Asia"
A statement released this afternoon by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reads:
As we approach the fourth anniversary of Bob Levinson's disappearance, we have received recent indications that Bob is being held somewhere in southwest Asia. As the Government of Iran has previously offered its assistance in this matter, we respectfully request the Iranian government to undertake humanitarian efforts to safely return and reunite Bob with his family. We would appreciate the Iranian government's efforts in this matter.
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