CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – Doug Levinson made it clear that he and his family feel strongly that the U.S. government has repeatedly failed to prioritize his father’s case and missed opportunities to bring him home.
A subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee listened on Tuesday to the last known recorded words of Bob Levinson.
“I have been held here for 3 ½ years… 33 years of service to the United States deserves something.”
Bob Levinson’s case is one of several being highlighted by the committee, shining a spotlight on American citizens being held in Iran.
Bob Levinson has held for 10 years.
“Bob Levinson has been left behind by the U.S. government time after time after time. We can’t let that happen again,” said Bob Levinson’s son, Doug.
At the hearing, Doug shared his last email he received from his father in 2007 just days before his father disappeared on Iran’s Kish Island. Doug was just 13 years old.
“I hope you miss me as much as I miss you,” he said.
Since that time, Bob Levinson’s wife, Christine, and the couple’s seven children have worked tirelessly to get him home.
They blame the U.S. government for missing opportunities to get him released – like during the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear deal when several other hostages were released.
“No one from the United States government had the decency to give us advanced warning,” Doug said. “Devastating doesn’t come close to what we felt that day.”
South Florida congressional leaders offered a sympathetic ear for the Levinsons’ plight.
“No family should have to endure 10 years of unanswered questions, 10 years of watching other people come home and 10 years of being left behind,” said Rep. Ted Deutch.
The Levinson family believes Bob is still alive, awaiting a reunion with his wife, kids and grandkids, who he has never met.
His youngest son spoke of his deep bond with his dad, even down to wearing his father’s shoes at Tuesday’s hearing.
“They’re still a little bit big, but the blisters that I get on my heel remind me of service and sacrifice that the man they belong to gave to this country,” Doug said.
Some on the committee called for more sanctions against Iran until Bob Levinson and other Americans are released.
And there’s another development expected later this week – although it may be largely symbolic. The House is expected to vote on a resolution demanding the release of Bob Levinson and several other Americans being held in Iran.