US considered covert mission to recover drone captured by Iran

Iran

Iran

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
What a difference two days can make! On Monday we speculated that Iran may have captured intact a United States Air Force RQ-170 Sentinel surveillance drone. At that time, most American officials questioned or flatly denied Iran’s capture claims. It now appears almost certain that Iran is indeed in possession of the aircraft; what is more, it seems increasingly likely that the captured drone was conducting a Central Intelligence Agency reconnaissance mission when it crashed in the desert along the country’s 1,000 km-long border with Afghanistan. The significance of the drone’s capture by Iranian authorities can be discerned from the fact that US officials are said to have considered last weekend several options for retrieving it from Iranian territory. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the US Department of Defense, in association with the CIA, discussed at least three separate plans for recovering or destroying the aircraft wreckage. One of the options discussed involved sending an airborne team of US covert operatives into northeast Iran to locate the crashed drone, disassemble it, and carry its top-secret mechanical and electronic components back to a US base in Afghanistan. The US also considered deploying Special Forces stationed in Afghanistan, or tasking US intelligence assets inside Iran, with locating and blowing up the crashed drone. A third option involved destroying the downed aircraft with a remote airstrike from Afghanistan. The Wall Street Journal quotes an unnamed “US official”, who says that the Pentagon and the CIA ultimately decided to reject all the options described above. The decision was apparently made after determining that a covert operation inside Iran would be too risky at this point in time, when tensions between the energy-rich country, Israel, and the United States, are already at a heightened state. The unnamed US official told the paper that a potential exposure of the covert action by Iran could entail an “explosive clash” between Washington and Tehran. This, in turn, would have the potential of becoming “a larger incident”, even prompting the Iranian government to accuse the White House of “an act of war”.

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8 Responses to US considered covert mission to recover drone captured by Iran

  1. [DR] says:

    You would think that the CIA, DARPA, and any other agency in the alphabet soup would have designed a remote operated self destruct fail safe just in case something like this happens. Why would you risk something like this happening?

  2. JF says:

    My thoughts exactly. All these smart guys in intelligence and nobody considers a worst case scenario?

  3. funfun says:

    The drone is a trojan horse now inside their walls

  4. mEH. says:

    They will have to do a full seize of the compound in stealth mode.

  5. Dean says:

    The fact that the drone is relatively undamaged suggests that Iranian forces may have intercepted it. It is somewhat ludicrous to presume that the U.S. would deploy a high tech remote controlled craft; without making provision for the possibility (however improbable) that the drone’s remote control devices could fail and not provide for a self-destruct scenario in the event of such a scenario becoming a reality.
    This is a high altitude craft. Why did it not crash after it lost contact with its operators? Surely what Iran should be showing the world, is bits and pieces of an obliterated craft.
    To suggest that the drone lands if it loses communication with its legitimate operator is to insult the intelligence of any reasonable person. A highly classified –state of the art design; created to intrude deep into the airspace of a ‘hostile’ nation would surely not land there if it lost contact with its base!
    What nonsense!
    The U.S. underestimated Tehran, and lost a drone in the process.

  6. HAROLD says:

    IT SEEMS UNREAL TO ME THAT FOR SUCH A SOPHISTICATED DRONE, THAT FOR A WORST CASE SCENARIO, THAT A SELF- DESTRUCT MODE WAS NOT INCLUDED. SIMILAR TO THE BOMB SIGHT USED IN AMERICAN BOMBERS IN WORLD WAR 2. THUS KEEPING IT OUT OF ENEMY HANDS.

  7. Anonymous says:

    With not an armed plane during 911 to defend us and now to loose a high tech drone makes me question our military skills. With hidden cells everywhere in the US, a spy at the controls could hand over quite a treasure to their country of allegiance.

  8. Deepak says:

    Guess dont worry – if CIA has its ways u will anyone messing with the drone have their entire database wiped out like the predecessor STUXNET. How could they forget their lessons so quickly???

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