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Longest Held American Hostage at 2,454 Days Is Robert Levinson

Image: Longest Held American Hostage at 2,454 Days Is Robert Levinson

By Robin Farmer   |   Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 12:05 PM

A retired FBI agent who was last seen working as a private investigator in Iran in 20007, 65-year-old Robert Levinson. is now the longest-held hostage in the American history, CBS News reported.

Levinson, who U.S. officials believe was abducted in March 2007, has spent more than six years in captivity. Levison, who at one point may have been held in Southwest Asia, has surpassed the 2, 454 days that Terry Anderson spent as a hostage in Lebanon.

Efforts to locate Levinson or communicate with his captors have failed, said FBI Director James Comey.

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As the holiday season approaches, both his family and the White House asked for his release.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the White House said it welcomed "the assistance of our international partners in this investigation, and we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return."

Levison's family also released a statement on a website.

"No one would have predicted this terrible moment more than six-and-a-half years ago when Bob disappeared," his wife, Christine Levinson wrote. "Our family will soon gather for our seventh Thanksgiving without Bob, and the pain will be almost impossible to bear. … To whoever is holding Bob, I ask again for your mercy. Please let him go to reunite with his family."

She also had a message for her husband.

"Bob, if somehow you see or hear these words: Stay strong. You have a new grandson, just a month old. We can't wait for you to meet him. We love you and will never stop working to bring you home safely."

Hoping to focus more attention on his disappearance, Levinson's wife, Christine, provided photos of her husband in captivity earlier this year to a wire service, The Daily Mail reported.

"There isn't any pressure on Iran to resolve this," she said. "It's been much too long."

Reaction to the CBS News article was varied.

"If the US was really interested in Levinson's safe return, they could have included his release in the Iranian nuclear agreement," wrote a poster. "No big deal for Iran. To me it means that the US doesn't care if Levinson is released."

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Wrote another: "This is a very sad story. if this man is still alive, I wonder what condition he is in. I'm sure his family wishes he would have just retired and stayed home with his family instead of playing private investigator."

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