State Rep Urges Congress to Help Free Florida Operative Held Hostage in Iran

Hostage photos were emailed to Levinson's family in 2011.
Hostage photos were emailed to Levinson's family in 2011. Photos courtesy of FBI
It's been nearly 13 years since Robert Levinson vanished from his hotel in Iran. It's believed the retired FBI agent has been held captive there ever since.

The bizarre circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Levinson, a Coral Springs man who is the longest-held American captive in U.S. history, have grabbed international headlines since he went missing in March 2007 after leaving his hotel on the Iranian island of Kish. It would later be revealed that Levinson was embarking on an unauthorized, clandestine operation at the behest of a group of rogue CIA analysts.

Now state Rep. Dan Daley, a Coral Springs Democrat, is attempting to galvanize support for Levinson's return to the United States. In a resolution filed Monday along with a petition containing 25,000 signatures, Daley urged federal lawmakers and the White House to commit to using their resources to free Levinson.

"It is well past time for Congress and the President to take all necessary action in bringing Mr. Levinson home to his family, who has vigilantly waited for his safe return," Daley said in a prepared statement. "Mr. Levinson has been held captive in adverse conditions for 13 years — 13 years that he and his family will never get back."

Daley pointed to Levinson's likely deteriorating health and cited his diabetes and probable lack of access to proper medication.

Daley previously served on the Coral Springs City Commission from 2012 to 2019. In an email to New Times, he says he and his then-colleagues on the commission used to send letters biannually begging federal officials to negotiate Levinson's release.

"Bob has always been top of mind for me and my community," he says, "so it was natural that I would file this memorial when I joined the Florida House."
Despite considerable public interest and prominent media coverage over the years, little information has come to light concerning Levinson's whereabouts and well-being, and there's been no official word as to whether he's even alive. In November 2011, his relatives received photos and a video of Levinson in which he pleaded for the U.S. government to cooperate with his captors.

A media release from Daley's office describes Levinson as a "private citizen" simply doing business in Iran. However, an explosive Associated Press investigation in 2013, citing intelligence and national security officials, reported Levinson was a covert CIA operative

Family members who operate a Facebook page and a website with information related to Levinson's disappearance did not respond to a message from New Times seeking comment. But those relatives have said online they haven't heard Levinson speak since the so-called proof-of-life video in 2011.

"I am not in very good health. I am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine," Levinson said in the video sent to his loved ones. "Please help me get home. Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something. Please help me."

Christine Levinson, Robert's wife, responded in a video the family posted shortly thereafter.

"Bob, I will continue to do everything I can to bring you home alive. All I want is for our family to be whole again," she said. "We love you. We miss you every day. We will not abandon you."
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.