News Commentary – April 8, 2012
The following article appeared in this morning’s Washington Post and like the article that appeared yesterday on “Iran’s Nuclear Timetable” it indicates how low the Washington Post’s editors regard their reader’s intelligence.
First they present a purely speculative article on “Iran’s Nuclear Timetable” as if it were news. Then they take the deception up a notch with claims that the RQ-170 that went missing in Iran during December “crashed”, as if the loss of the drone were a momentary mishap in an otherwise successful intelligence gathering program.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Washington Post was trying to convey that impression when nothing could be further from the truth.
For what the Washington Post omits to mention is that the RQ-170 didn’t merely “crash” in Iran. According to reports carried in the Christian Science Monitor, Iranian technicians took command of the drone and flew it in to land, effectively overidding U.S. commands and control.
This is substantiated by Video of the US RQ-170 Sentinel Spy Plane Landing in Iran and the fact that it later appeared on Iranian TV virtually undamaged.
That the RQ-170 didn’t return to base but appeared to land is a clear indication it was hijacked. According to David Goure from the Lexington Institute, a think-tank which specialises in intelligence:
“Long-range UAVs are programmed to return to base if contact is lost with their controllers … They are not supposed to fly around aimlessly or simply land. A platform as sensitive as the RQ-170 would have had such a ‘carrier pigeon’ program in its guidance computer and, under normal conditions, would have flown home.”
All of which obviously adds credence to Iran’s claims that its experts seized control of the drone. Yet none of this is mentioned in the following article, which dwells on U.S claims of “confidence” in intelligence gathering on Iran.
Nor does it mention Israeli DEBKAfile claims that Iranian experts “broke into the CIA’s secret drone command center” when they seized control of the RQ-170. Or that former Vice President Dick Cheney said that the captured drone should have been destroyed in an airstrike, to prevent Iran obtaining valuable intelligence.
The Washington Post mentions none of this; instead we get a report that only underlines growing confidence in America’s intelligence on Iran. But should we have confidence in U.S. intelligence on Iran? Or are we simply being sold another line like the one we were sold about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction?
U.S. intelligence gains in Iran seen as boost to confidence
Joby Warrick & Greg Miller – Washington Post April 8, 2012
The bat-winged aircraft penetrated more than 600 miles inside the country, captured images of Iran’s secret nuclear facility at Qom and then flew home. All the while, analysts at the CIA and other agencies watched carefully for any sign that the craft, dubbed the RQ-170 Sentinel, had been detected by Tehran’s air defenses on its maiden voyage.
“There was never even a ripple,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official involved in the previously undisclosed mission.
CIA stealth drones scoured dozens of sites throughout Iran, making hundreds of passes over suspicious facilities, before a version of the RQ-170 crashed inside Iran’s borders in December. The surveillance has been part of what current and former U.S. officials describe as an intelligence surge that is aimed at Iran’s nuclear program and that has been gaining momentum since the final years of George W. Bush’s administration.