Robert Levinson's captivity, now at 12 years, must end

Robert Levinson's captivity, now at 12 years, must end
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Robert Levinson, a retired FBI and DEA special agent, also is a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and friend. It is my opinion that he has been abandoned by our government — specifically, previous administrations — due to greed, power and the official covering-up of government lies.

Numerous individuals have continued privately to investigate the abduction and detention of Bob Levinson in Iran. They have concluded that numerous individuals within our own government have had continued involvement in keeping him in captivity — unthinkably, for 12 years now, as of Saturday, March 9, 2019.

I have been involved in trying to secure Bob Levinson’s release for more than a decade. I have seen the pain that his captivity has brought to his family and the personal darkness they have had to endure. His children have had to continue their lives reluctantly knowing that their father would not be able to share in weddings, births, graduations, holidays, birthdays and so many more of life‘s normal joys. He has missed all of these for 12 years now.

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His wife has had to battle the loneliness and frustration that comes with having the love of her life held in captivity in Iran since 2007. The family’s frustration has never abated, knowing as they do that their loved one has been abandoned and used as a pawn by our own government.

Even when I was working Bob Levinson’s case from 2007 to 2009, investigative efforts were stonewalled or blocked whenever we tried to secure his release.

Bob, quite simply, made a very poor decision to go to Iran’s Kish Island. He did so for his family, however; he did so to put food on the table, just like many of us would do in similar circumstances. Additionally, he wanted to to give his family a bright future. He did what any father would do for his family, because he loves them and they love and terribly miss him.

We know that the issues between the United States and Iran have been less than desirable — awful, really. We also know that Bob Levinson has been used and abandoned by past presidential administrations, left in captivity for things with which he had nothing to do.

As a former supervisory special agent of the FBI, I supervised the Levinson case for two years. Now, I sincerely request and hope that the government of Iran will exhibit mercy and will release Robert Levinson, allowing light to reenter his family‘s lives.

I plead for his release as well so that those Americans who have trusted our government with their safety and security will, finally, be able to hold accountable those who betrayed Robert Levinson, his family, and those of us who have worked tirelessly to bring him home. All of us would like to see that the Americans who were involved in keeping Levinson in captivity are brought to justice, once he is home.

I have nothing to offer but my sincere plea that a man who means so much personally to so many people should be released, to spend his final years in the arms of his loved ones.

Many individuals, like Bob and myself, have been betrayed by our government over the years. I am hopeful that, with a new administration in place, the United States and Iran will be able to work together on a very human level, despite their political and strategic differences, and to do the right thing where Robert Levinson and his family are concerned — before another year passes by and keeps them separated from each other.

Robyn Gritz was an FBI supervisory special agent for more than 16 years, specializing in counterterrorism, overseas abductions and crime, strategic planning/execution/communications, and weapons of mass destruction. She has since become involved in exposing government corruption, championing whistleblower issues and exposing the cost of discrimination to national security. She is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. Follow her on Twitter @vabelle2010.