Reports swirled Tuesday that missing former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who was believed to be in Iranian custody, was safely in the hands of American officials.
The Washington-based National Security News Agency (NSNA) quoted a Iranian source who said that Levinson “is no longer here."
"But because he was never ‘officially detained’ here, no one will say on the record that he has been released," the source told the NSNA. "I have again been told to be quiet and that he is definitely in the hands of his countrymen — perhaps in Iraq.
"This would have been a simple border exchange," the source said. "I am satisfied he is out of this country.”
The information has not been confirmed by U.S. officials.
“At this point we are aware of unconfirmed accounts in the media that he departed Iran,” State Department spokesman Karl Duckworth said. “We are continuing to work with the Swiss to get information on his welfare and whereabouts,” Duckworth said.
FBI spokesman John Miller, when asked to comment on reports of Levinson’s release, told ABC News, "We are hearing the same thing, but we have no way to judge the credibility of that information."
Levinson believed to have been detained March 8 after a meeting on Kish Island with an expatriate American and an Iranian wanted in the U.S. for murder.
A normally reliable source in Iran told NSNA that the Iranian government concluded Levinson was not on a spying mission when he met with Dawud Salahuddin on March 7. Salahuddin, born David Belfield and originally from Bayshore, Long Island, is wanted for the 1980 assassination in Bethesda, Md., of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, which he confessed to claiming the killing was "an act of war."