CBS News has learned missing American Robert Levinson was apparently taken by Iranian security officials, according to Dawud Salahuddin -- the alleged assassin Levinson met in Iran seven years ago.
The Associated Press has reported that Levinson was on a CIA mission at the time he disappeared.
"That was the person that Levinson was going to meet on Kish island," CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former deputy director of national intelligence, explained on "CBS This Morning." "And when (we) spoke to Salahuddin yesterday -- and he's somebody that we've been in contact with over the last couple of years -- Pat Milton from our investigative unit said what happened that day? He described meeting Levinson, having dinner, walking on the beach, sitting on a rock talking together. And at some point, he said, Iranian security officials, he says he believes they were Iranian security officials, came, separated them, took him for identification, took Levinson away, and they never saw him again. Why is that significant? Because yesterday we had the foreign minister on, saying, 'Well, the government has no idea where he was, and we didn't take him'."
Salahuddin is wanted for a 1980 assassination of an Iranian official in Maryland. Salahuddin fled to Iran and
has been living there, out of reach of the United States for years, Miller reported on "CTM."
Last year, when "CBS This Morning" interviewed the former Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he seemed to acknowledge for the first time that Iran was holding Levinson.
"CTM" co-host Charlie Rose asked him then, "Is there anything that could happen, a trade or something that would allow him to come back to the United States?"
Ahmadinejad replied, "I remember that last year, Iranian and American intelligence groups had a meeting, but I haven't followed up on it. I thought they had come to some kind of an agreement."
But this year, when Rose followed up with the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, he seemed to know or admit knowing less about Levinson's fate, saying at the time, "We do not any information about this person. Actually our intelligence services say he is not in Iran."
Miller said it seems there are two story lines going on with respect to Levinson -- the public story and a behind-the-scenes one. He said, "I've been told by people, both Iranian sources and U.S. sources, that at different times, there have been negotiations behind the scenes to arrange a trade for Levinson. And for different reasons, they fell through. … There's a lot going on in terms of discussions about getting him back."
Asked if the U.S. government believes he's alive, Miller said, "They have no proof of life that shows them that."
For more on this story, watch Miller's full "CTM" discussion above.