Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Downed RQ-170 Drone Was On CIA Mission

Via CNN's Security Clearance Blog -

A stealth US drone that crashed in Iran last week was part of a Central Intelligence Agency reconnaissance mission which involved both intelligence community and military personnel stationed in Afghanistan, two U.S. officials tell CNN. The officials said they did not believe the mission involved flying the drone directly over Iran because the reconnaissance capability of the RQ-170 drone allows it to gather information from inside Iran while remaining on the Afghanistan side of the border. The officials also for the first time acknowledged to CNN it was an RQ-170 drone that was lost.

When the drone crashed in Iran late last week, the U.S. briefly considered all potential options for retrieving the drone or bombing the wreckage, according to a third official. But those ideas were relatively quickly discarded as impractical, the official said. There was also satellite surveillance over the site which helped confirm the location of the wreckage before the Iranians retrieved it.

All of the officials have direct knowledge of the events, but spoke on the condition of anonymity because of sensitive intelligence matters. CIA officials have declined to comment.

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