CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – Bob Levinson is the longest held civilian in American history. When he disappeared from the Iranian island of Kish in 2007 while working for the CIA, his youngest son, Doug, was just 13 years old.
“I was 5’3’ when he went missing,” Doug said. “Now I’m 6’4” – the same height as him.”
Doug is now a man and is desperate to see his father. He will testify Tuesday before a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with the families of several others held in Iran.
Doug told us over FaceTime that he has several things to tell the committee about his dad.
“The United States government failed my father,” Doug said. “My father went over there as a contractor for the U.S. government and they left him on the battlefield.”
Doug will also work to keep his father’s case in the public eye and ask congressional leaders for help returning this dedicated public servant to his family.
Bob Levinson worked for 22 years for the FBI and six years for the DEA.
Doug said it’s been difficult to watch others get detained in Iran and released over the years while his father has languished.
“There have been at least 10 Americans or Iranian-Americans that have been detained by the Iranian government and released since my father was first kidnapped in 2007,” he said.
In 2010, the Levinsons received video and pictures of Bob Levinson in captivity and not a word since. The FBI has a $5 million reward for information that leads to Levinson’s release.
The Levinson family said a statement from President Donald Trump released on Friday gives them new hope.
In it, the president said:
“For nearly forty years, Iran has used detentions and hostage-taking as a tool of state police, a practice that continues to this day.” The statement also read, “President Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned.”
“My family was very encouraged by that statement,” Doug said. “It is the strongest, most strongly worded statement in 10 years.”
The Levinson family recently met with administration officials to press their case and walked away optimistic.
“They gave us their word that they’re doing everything they can to get my father home and I truly believe that they are,” he said.
The Levinson family is hopeful that forceful talk will be followed by action that brings this beloved father home to his wife and seven kids.
“No family should ever have to go through what we’re going through and nobody should have to go through what my dad is going through,” Doug said.
Doug told CBS4 News that he plans to have a piece of his father with him as he testifies tomorrow. He’ll be wearing his father’s shoes.