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Press Conference on $1 Million Reward in Search for Robert Levinson

The FBI announced a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the safe recovery and return of the retired special agent.


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Good morning. My name is James McJunkin and I am the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

I want to thank you all for joining us here today as we recognize the five-year anniversary of the disappearance of retired FBI Special Agent Robert Levinson.

Also here with me today is FBI Director Robert Mueller and Mrs. Christine Levinson, wife of Bob Levinson.

We’re also joined by many current and retired special agents of the FBI who stand here today in support of Bob and his family.

Again, we thank you for being here today.

I will now turn the podium over to Director Mueller. Thank you.

Thanks Jim, and good morning all.

As you know, this week we mark the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Bob Levinson from Kish Island, Iran.

To the members of the Levinson family, we in the FBI share in your heartache. But we also share in your sense of hope—hope of Bob’s safety, hope of Bob’s health, and hope of his homecoming.

We in the FBI are working every day to bring your husband, your father, and your grandfather back home to you. Bob was a special agent of the FBI for 22 years, and that means something to each and every one of us in the Bureau. It means something to the citizens we serve.

The pursuit of justice is the bedrock of the FBI. It is our mission, our commitment to the American people. I speak not only of seeking justice against those who commit crimes.

Justice must also include those individuals impacted by crime—the families and friends of the victims, those who have suffered at the hands of criminals, here at home and abroad.

Bob’s disappearance serves as a constant reminder of why we in the FBI do what we do, and who we are sworn to serve and to protect.

We often speak of the FBI family. And though he is retired from the FBI, Bob remains a member of the FBI family to this day ... and his family is our family. Like all families, we stand together in good times and in times of adversity.

Today, we stand together to reaffirm our commitment to Bob Levinson. We in the FBI will continue to do all that we can to ensure Bob’s safe return to Christine and their family, his safe return to the FBI family, and to the country that he has served so well and so diligently for over 28 years.

It is our privilege to stand with the Levinson family for as long as it takes to bring Bob home.

That’s why were are here: to announce a $1 million reward for information leading directly to the location and the safe recovery and the return of Bob Levinson. And we encourage anyone with information about Bob or his captors to contact the FBI.

Now, let me turn it back over to Jim for additional details.

Thank you Director Mueller. As we have said, this week commemorates the five-year anniversary of Robert Levinson’s disappearance.

Bob, a 22-year veteran of the FBI, served as a special agent for the Los Angeles, New York, and Miami field offices. Bob’s service to this country also included six years with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Bob is a U.S. citizen who was working as a private investigator when he traveled to Kish

Island, Iran on March 8, 2007. Bob has not been seen or heard from since his disappearance that following day.

The FBI has been steadfast in investigating every lead since Bob’s disappearance. And we are committed to bringing Bob home to his family safely.

Today the FBI is announcing a reward of $1 million for information leading directly to the safe location, recovery and return of Bob Levinson.

I hope this reward encourages anyone with information, no matter how insignificant they may think it is, to come forward and share this information with us. It may be the clue that we need to locate Bob.

In November of 2010 a video was received form the group holding Bob that shows him in captivity. While we believe that Bob is alive we are concerned about his health. We need to bring him home.

The Levinson family released a video plea to the group holding Bob asking them to communicate with the family and release him from captivity. These videos and other information may be viewed on the family website at www.helpboblevinson.com.

A year ago, Secretary of State Clinton issued a statement that the U.S. government had

received indications that Mr. Levinson was being held captive by a group in Southwest Asia.

This includes the border regions of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.

The FBI remains committed to identifying his captors.

A publicity campaign is being launched this week in Southwest Asia to heighten awareness of Levinson’s abduction, announce the $1 million reward, and solicit information.

Billboards, radio messages, and handbills will be utilized to publicize the reward and the investigation.

A confidential telephone tip line will be provided for listeners and viewers with information.

The FBI will continue to follow every lead into Bob’s disappearance. We have posted pictures from the video, along with a composite sketch of what we believe Bob would look like after five years of captivity on the FBI website at www.fbi.gov/levinson.

Bob will turn 64 this coming Saturday, March 10th. His family has been without him for five years and they want him back now.

I encourage anyone with information regarding Robert Levinson or his captors to contact the FBI. Information is confidential and can be shared anonymously. I would now like to invite Christine Levinson, Bob’s wife of over 37 years, to come up and speak to you today. Thank you.

Thank you.

I am Bob’s wife Christine Levinson. First let me say how grateful I am that the FBI has offered this reward on the fifth anniversary of Bob’s disappearance, which is in three days from now.

Our family believes that the efforts by the FBI are the best way to successfully find Bob and bring him home safely.

We also believe that Bob, as a retired FBI agent, would say the same.

Knowing the Bob is being held against his will and not being able to help him, there are no words to describe the nightmare my family and I have been living every day.

I never imagined that we would still be waiting for Bob to come home five years later.

On January 25th of this year two hostages were rescued by Navy Seals in Somalia. After their heroic rescue President Obama made the following statement, which I quote: “The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens.”

President Obama added, “This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people.”

Bob is a hostage. For my family, that message was reassuring to hear.

I look forward to the day when the president calls me with the same good news—that Bob has been found and is coming home.

Lastly, I would like to express my appreciation for the words of support and encouragement my family has received from around the world through our website, helpboblevinson.com.

My children and I read every message that comes in. We hope one day soon to post the following message: thank you everyone, Bob is home.

Thank you.

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