Pentagon Chief: US Sailors Made ‘Navigational Error’ Entering Iranian Waters

Says Military Still Doesn't Know 'Full Context' of What Happened

The Pentagon continues to change its official excuse for this week’s incident in which a pair of US boats crossed into Iranian territorial waters, and by some accounts one even ran aground into an Iranian island, now denying that their  “mechanical failures” even happened.

Instead, Defense Secretary Ash Carter claimed today that the sailors made a “navigational error” and didn’t tell anybody about it until after they got caught in Iranian waters. He appeared to be setting the stage for more revision, saying the military still doesn’t “fully know” what happened.

The new claim doesn’t jibe with previous reports of the incident, particularly the reports that one of the boats ran aground, as it’s hard to imagine they mis-navigated so much they slammed into an island. Even if that turns out not to have happened, it’s unimaginable that the crew wouldn’t have known of the location of an island that houses a large Iranian naval base.

The Navy is talking up having a future investigation into what is happening, though for now they say the focus is on “reintegration” exams to ease the sailors into a return to duty after spending several hours in Iranian custody.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of