New Evidence Iran Cracked Communications System Of US Stealth Drone, Downed It – OpEd


There is new evidence to support Iran’s claim that the U.S.’ most advanced stealth drone, the RQ-170, did not crash inside Iran due to a simple malfunction as U.S. officials claimed.  But rather, the Iranians attacked weaknesses in its GPS system to force it to land inside Iran.  Jeffrey Carr and Public Intelligence released separate statements adding credence to the Iranian claims.  Public Intelligence released a secret air force report that described serious weaknesses in the drone communications systems which might allow them to be sabotaged or jammed by those it is targeting.  After reading this report, Carr, a top cybersecurity expert wrote this:

With this report as background, the capture of the RQ-170 by Iranian forces needs to be evaluated fairly and not dismissed as some kind of Iranian scam for reasons that have more to do with embarrassment than a rational assessment of the facts.

An Iranian engineer familiar with his country’s campaign to sabotage U.S. drones described it to the Christian Science Monitor:

“The GPS navigation is the weakest point,” the Iranian engineer told The Monitor, giving the most detailed description yet published of Iran’s “electronic ambush” of the highly classified US drone. “By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.”

The “spoofing” technique that the Iranians used – which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data – made the drone “land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications” from the US control center, says the engineer.

Aside from its implications for heating up the covert U.S.-Israeli war on Iran, these reports raise another serious issue: the U.S. now has near zero credibility in almost anything it has to say about Iran.  Its claims about the nature, trajectory and imminence of the Iranian bomb program; its claims about IRG hit men seeking to assassinate Saudi ambassadors; its claims it is not involved with acts of sabotage and violence inside Iran; its claims not to be involved in cyber warfare episodes like Stuxnet…all of these have been questioned, even ridiculed by seasoned analysts.  This new development will hold U.S. protestations up for even greater disdain.  They will also cause future claims by the U.S. on these and related subjects to be treated dubiously.

I’m also reminded of U.S. claims that Osama bin Laden was not murdered in cold blood.  They have the videotape to prove what happened.  The fact that they don’t release them tells us the truth.

In fact, I’m thinking that U.S. officials may be taking lessons from the Israeli hasbara apparatus: when anything happens that makes you look bad, lie and deny it.  When you can, make up stuff to make your opponent look bad.  This is why I treat pronouncements from the Israeli military-intelligence apparatus skeptically.  Any statement from the Israelis that is at odds with or contrary to their interests I treat with deference and respect; any statement that advances their ulterior motives must be taken with great a grain of salt unless it can be verified independently.  Now we need to do the same with our own government.

This article appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

2 thoughts on “New Evidence Iran Cracked Communications System Of US Stealth Drone, Downed It – OpEd

  • December 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    The drone was allowed to be captured. It is actually a trojan horse now collecting info within iran.

  • December 17, 2011 at 5:12 am

    That act of US officals is funny and sad. Actually it is called denials to Suppressing Bad Memories.
    US ignorance of iran technological advancement and its smart population actually is a an advantage for iran to surprise amd neutralize their warmonger plans.


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