Sen. John McCain, R.-Arizona, told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday that the CIA did not tell Congress the truth and has not been forthcoming on details about an American who disappeared while on a secret intelligence mission to Iran.
An Associated Press investigation published this past week found that Levinson was working for the CIA — investigating the Iranian government. The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business
McCain does not doubt that Iran knows of Levinson’s whereabouts and fate. He does believe that the U.S. is doing all it can to learn of Levinson but McCain is disappointed that the Obama administration has not been more open with information.
Iran's foreign minister asserted that Robert Levinson is ‘not incarcerated by the government and I believe the government runs, pretty much, good control of the country.’
But Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, asked on CBS television's Face the Nation where Levinson is, replied with a slight change of fact: ‘I have no idea.’
‘If we can trace him and find him, we will certainly discuss’ returning him to the United States, he added, though he made clear that ‘we have no traces of him in Iran.’
The United States hasn't abandoned Robert Levinson, the retired FBI agent described by his wife as the ‘longest-held American hostage’ Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday to CNN.
Levinson has been missing since March of 2007. He reportedly was on a business trip at that time to Iran. However, the Associated Press and Washington Post reported on Thursday that he actually was working for the CIA in Iran. A source involved in the matter told CNN there's proof that Levinson worked for the CIA undercover, and under contract, while also working as a private investigator.
‘There hasn't been progress in the sense that we don't have him back. But to suggest that we've abandoned him or anybody ... is simply incorrect and not helpful,’ Kerry told ABC's "This Week.’ ‘The fact is that I have personally raised the issue, not only at the highest level that I have been involved with, but also through other intermediaries.’
Right now, ‘we're looking for proof of life,’ Kerry said.
After Levinson vanished in 2007, the CIA said that he was not working for the agency. However, his lawyer Levinson's lawyer discovered emails in which Levinson told a CIA friend that he was working to develop a source with access to the Iranian government. A CIA investigation started once the emails were turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The last photos and video of a bearded, emaciated Levinson were released anonymously to his family in 2010 and early 2011.
The New York Times revealed Friday that it withheld reporting on missing American Robert Levinson’s ties to the CIA for six years, one day after The Associated Press acknowledged withholding that detail for three years at the request of U.S. officials.
McCain said Sunday on CNN's ‘State of the Union’ that regarding lack of information to Congress: ‘If that's true, then you put this on top of things that our intelligence committees didn't know about other activities, which have been revealed by (NSA leaker Edward) Snowden -- maybe it means that we should be examining the oversight role of Congress over our different intelligence agencies.’
Sen. John McCain is on the Senate Foreign Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.