The US government has concluded that retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished more than a decade ago, has died while in the custody of Iran, his family said Wednesday. Shortly after the family's announcement, President Trump told reporters that "I won't accept that he's dead," even though his own acting national intelligence director appeared to confirm the news with a statement conveying sympathies for the Levinsons. The family said in a statement posted on Twitter that it had no information about how or when Levinson had died, but that it occurred before the recent coronavirus outbreak. The family said information that US officials had received led them to conclude that he is dead.
US officials communicated the news to Levinson's family in a meeting in Washington in recent weeks, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private encounter. The person said the information about Levinson had come from Iran's foreign minister. "It is impossible to describe our pain," the family's statement said. Levinson disappeared on March 9, 2007, when he was scheduled to meet a source on the Iranian island of Kish. For years, US officials would say only that Levinson was working independently on a private investigation. But a 2013 AP investigation revealed that Levinson had been sent on a mission by CIA analysts who had no authority to run such an operation. (Levinson's family had found hope in Trump.)