White House: Levinson not a government employee when he made Iran trip

Former FBI agent Robert Levinson vanished while on a business trip to Iran in 2007. His family released this photo in January.

Story highlights

  • Reports surface Bob Levinson worked for the CIA in Iran when he disappeared in 2007
  • Family lawyer tells CNN about Levinson's apparent CIA connection
  • The White House says Levinson wasn't a government employee when he went missing
  • U.S. officials say they have no information on Levinson's whereabouts
Former FBI agent Bob Levinson "was not a U.S. government employee when he went missing in Iran," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. And U.S. officials noted that they have no idea where he is.
Carney made the comment amid reports that Levinson, 65, was working for the CIA in Iran, not conducting private business as officials have previously said.
The State Department and Levinson's family have denied he was working for the U.S. government ever since he disappeared on a trip to Iran in 2007.
Speaking to reporters, Carney said there's an investigation into the disappearance, but he wouldn't comment further on what Levinson "may or may not have been doing in Iran."
"I am not going to fact check every allegation made in the story you referenced, a story we believe it was highly irresponsible to publish and which we strongly urged the outlet not to publish out of concerns for Mr. Levinson's safety," he said.
"If there's somebody detained overseas and it's published, true or false, that he is working for the CIA, I think it is dictated by logic that that very likely puts that person in greater danger. What I can tell you is he wasn't a U.S. government employee when he made that trip."