Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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December 14, 2013

US faces new pressure over missing CIA contractor

(Continued)

"Since Bob disappeared, the U.S. government has vigorously pursued and continues to pursue all investigative leads, as we would with any American citizen missing or detained overseas," Carney said Friday. "We continue to be focused on doing everything we can to bring Bob home safely to his family. This remains a top priority of the U.S. government."

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said the U.S. believes Levinson is alive and is being held by the Quds Force, which is the special operations wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

"He is in the custody of some pretty bad people," Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told Fox News.

Iran and the United States seem closer now than in past years to an agreement over Tehran's nuclear program and to warmer relations in general. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said publicly he has no information about Levinson's whereabouts, but Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who represents the district where Levinson's family lives, said the U.S. "ought to be raising this with the Iranians at every opportunity."

Other lawmakers said they would seek more answers in Levinson's case, and his family in Florida pleaded for the government to do more.

"After nearly seven years, our family should not be struggling to get through each day without this wonderful, caring man that we love so much," the family said in a statement.

Soon after his disappearance, the FBI began asking about Levinson's mission, and the CIA started a formal inquiry into whether anyone at the agency had sent Levinson to Iran or whether he was working for the CIA at the time. CIA analysts acknowledged he had done some work for them but said his contract was out of money. The CIA then told the FBI and Congress that the agency had no current relationship with Levinson, and there was no connection to Iran, according to numerous U.S. officials.

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