After Iranian television broadcast footage of the secret American RQ-170 unmanned surveillance drone recovered after a crash in eastern Iran, U.S. officials confirmed it was in fact their drone.
The drone appeared undamaged after its reported crash, although two banners along each wing of the stealth craft covered the bottom of it. One banner read “America cannot do any harm to us,” and another said “We have trampled on America.”
The Pentagon refused to elaborate on the drone’s mission or the circumstances of the Iranian recovery of it. “We did have a UAV go missing, but when it comes to sensitive reconnaissance missions, we call them sensitive for a reason,” Little said.
Iran now says it will attempt to reverse engineer the classified systems and sensors in order to gain intelligence and learn from the craft’s technology. While some experts argue this is extremely difficult, the U.S. government has blamed others – WikiLeaks, for example, – for aiding the enemy with information of a much less sensitive nature.
When President Obama was brief on the lost drone, officials presented him with three possible options for retrieving it. Those included sending in a special-ops team to retrieve the drone; sending in a team to blow up the aircraft; and launching an airstrike to destroy it. The President decline all of them, concerned the missions would be seen as an act of war.
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