(CBS News) Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent, was apparently kidnapped five years ago on an island near the coast of Iran. Now the FBI is taking a rare step, offering a $1 million reward, for new information officials hope will lead to his return.
At a press conference Tuesday announcing the reward, FBI director Robert Mueller said the bureau is reaffirming their commitment to Levinson.
So will the money make a difference?
CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, who worked on this case as a deputy FBI director, said if Levinson is not being held by the Iranian government, the reward will have an impact.
Christine Levinson, the former agent's wife, has met with Iranian officials, traveled to Iran and chased down every clue that has come into the family website, helpboblevinson.com.
"There are no words to describe the nightmare my family and I have been living every day. I never imagined that we would still be waiting for Bob to come home five years later," she said.
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.
In several interviews, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Iran has no information on Levinson.
To date, the most encouraging, yet frustrating clue, is a 54-second video sent to the family website in 2010 that shows a gaunt and disheveled Levinson asking for help. Robert Levinson says in the video, "I am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine. I have been treated well. I need the help of the United States government."
But there were references in the video to being held by a group and suggestions that he could be in the hands of people of people in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Have those clues taken the case in a new direction, or was Levinson forced to follow a script to mislead investigators? The tape has given the Levinson family and investigators clear hope, but not direction.
The FBI has said they don't know where Levinson is or who has him -- and no demands have been made.
James McJunkin, assistant director of the FBI, said, "The family issued the video and we hope that through that the (kidnappers) could call us or call the family and make demands. We haven't heard anything since."
On "CBS This Morning," Miller said "nothing is right" about this case.
"If you're Iran and you have a former FBI agent, he's in your territory, you could hold him up as a spy, parade him on video, have video confessions, make all kind much demands. But they've never done that. They just say we don't know what happened to him. If you're some group in Afghanistan or Pakistan, you demand ransom, trade him for a prisoner, do something for propaganda, but there's been none of that. What has struck them is the deafening silence and then this strange videotape."
It's hard to say what the silence means, Miller said, but added, "Somewhere the answer lies within a mystery man named David Belfield or Dawud Salahuddin. ... That is who Robert Levinson went to Kish Island to meet. We don't know what they discussed. But we know after that meeting, he vanished and Salahuddin didn't. Now Salahuddin is wanted here in the United States for the murder of a former Iranian diplomat. In 1980, he fled to Iran. He had been the security guard at their Washington embassy and he's been hiding there ever since kind of in plain sight. And it appears that either the Salahuddin's meeting caused somebody to know Levinson was there and take him or that he set him up."
To watch Miller's full report and the discussion about the case on "CBS This Morning," check out the video in the player above.