TODAY   |  December 14, 2013

Emails reveal safety concerns of missing CIA operative

The family of Robert Levinson has more questions about his whereabouts after a man Levinson met in Iran resurfaced and sent a surprising email about him. NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports.

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>>> new information about the disappearance of an american spy in iran. our national investigative correspondent michael isikoff has been dig into the story for us. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. nbc news is learning new details about the robert levinson the former fbi agent who ran and disappeared several years ago while working with the cia . an american wanted for murder has just resurfaced, sending a surprising e-mail. when robert levinson flew to iran in 2007 , the associates say he was on a secret mission for the cia . looking into allegations of corruption involving one of the country's most powerful figures, former president but the rogue operation hatched by cia analysts without the approval of agencies higher up's was risky at start says the levinson family lawyer.

>> it was dangerous as hell. e-mails where bob conveys his fears.

>> reporter: officials tell nbc news that levinson vanished after meeting with this man, hudene seen here. he's an american who is wanted in maryland for the 1980 murder of an iranian compile. he led for tehran. this week, salahuddin told via e-mail the following. white house press secretary jay carney says the u.s. government is doing everything it can to press the iranians to what happened to levinson .

>> this is something that we continue to raise at the highest levels.

>> reporter: but the iranians deny any knowledge of levinson 's whereabouts and his family have heard nothing since video and photos were sent three years ago showing him gaunt and dress inside an orange jumpsuit pleading for help.

>> i am not in -- i am running very quickly. i am out of diabetes medicine.

>> i don't know what to believe, but i know there is a wife and seven children that are desperate to have their father back.

>> reporter: the fbi has posted $1 million reward for any information about levinson and in recent months, even took out ads in newspapers in the united states and so far the u.s. tell us no solid leads have turned up.

>> michael, thanks.