Jordan Candler / Jan. 14, 2016

More Than Humiliation: What Did Iran Find?

Insiders worry Iran retrieved sensitive military information off U.S. Navy vessels.

On the same day Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union, Iran humiliated the U.S. by apprehending 10 U.S. Navy personnel and two vessels. Most amazingly, not a word about it was mentioned by the commander in chief. His team and media lapdogs went immediately into damage control, going so far as to spin the situation as a positive development with the sailors’ release. “I’m appreciative for the quick and appropriate response of the Iranian authorities,” remarked Secretary of State John Kerry. “Iran has moved from being one of the most despised nations in our history to something that’s a much more comfortable potential partner,” asserted Atlantic editor Steve Clemons. “Iran’s Swift Release of U.S. Sailors Hailed as a Sign of Warmer Relations,” lauded a New York Times headline. Yet hardly anybody stopped to contemplate one reason why Iran may have turned over our soldiers as easily as it did. What if the Islamic regime found all that it needed, something far more valuable — like a trove of sensitive military information?

That’s what one congressman is wondering. According to Defense News, “Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former US Marine and Iraq War veteran, said Iran — a ‘terrorist-sponsoring’ existential threat to the US — accessed US cryptographic and satellite communications, sensors and jammers Hunter believes were aboard the two Navy patrol boats. ‘We’d be stupid to think that they didn’t,’ said Hunter, R-Calif. ‘I’m glad that the sailors are back safe, but there’s no way [the Iranian military] just let those boats sit there, and didn’t reverse engineer, or look at and copy everything that they possibly could.’” Hunter has no concrete evidence, but his suggestion isn’t hyperbolic, either. In 2011, Iran got hold of a CIA drone, the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, every inch of which was (and probably still is) studied by the Iranians. The Navy vessels were probably icing on the cake.

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