(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - The U.S. is offering $1 million for information leading to the safe return of a former FBI agent who vanished in Iran five years ago. The case has increasingly frustrated investigators trying to bring him home.
The reward announced Tuesday is the latest high-profile effort by the FBI to find a way to determine Robert Levinson's whereabouts. Late last year, a video of Levinson was released by his family. The short video generated enormous publicity but no concrete leads.
In the hostage video, which the family received in November 2010, Levinson pleaded with the U.S. government to meet the demands of the people holding him, whom he did not identify.
The 54-second hostage video showed Levinson looking haggard but unharmed, sitting in front of what appeared to be a concrete wall. He had lost considerable weight, particularly in his face, and his white shirt hung off him. There were no signs of recent mistreatment. But Levinson, who has a history of diabetes and high blood pressure, implored the U.S. to help him quickly.
In the time that Levinson has been missing, the U.S. government has never had solid intelligence about what happened to him. Levinson, 63, had been retired from the FBI for years and was working as a private investigator when he traveled to the Iran in March 2007. His family has said an investigation into cigarette smuggling brought him to Kish, a resort island where Americans need no visa to visit.
Friday marks the five-year anniversary of his disappearance.
The prevailing U.S. government theory had been that Levinson was arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. But as every lead fizzled and Iran repeatedly denied any involvement in his disappearance, many in the U.S. government believed Levinson was probably dead.
The surprise arrival of the video, followed by a series of photographs, quickly changed that view. But they did little to settle the question of his whereabouts.
The U.S. still hasn't identified the kidnappers, but there are indications he's being held along the borders of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.
Featured in U.S.
Miami's Cubans react to new U.S. policy with Cuba
Reaction was swift and strong on the streets of Little Havana in Miami in response to President Obama's change in policy toward Cuba
What millennials really think about race
Six millennials of different backgrounds sat down for a discussion on race relations in America
Popular on CBS News
Deadly attack on NYPD officers in patrol car
Sony hackers appear to mock FBI in new message
Protesters: "Not the time" to change Cuba relations
Exotic animals becoming new must-have at weddings
New video shows Ray Rice, fiancee after punch
Deadly listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples
2-year-old hears mother's voice for the first time
Chocolatier Jacques Torres shows off his new chocolate factory