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Iran Unlikely to Return “Obama’s Christmas Present”

The United States had asked for the return of the RQ-170 drone that was downed by Iran over a week ago. Speaking at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Barack Obama said,  “We have asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta were more outspoken on the issue. Panetta acknowledged that it is difficult to know what the Iranians might be able to learn by an examination of the downed spy drone. He concedes that it is unlikely that the aircraft will be returned, but says it was important to make the request. Secretary Clinton said recent Iranian behavior indicated, “that the path that Iran seems to be going down is a dangerous one for themselves and the region. Given Iran’s behavior to date we do not expect them to comply but we are dealing with all of these provocations and concerning actions taken by Iran in close concert with our closest allies and partners.”

Standing with Secretary Clinton, British Foreign Secretary William Hague issued the statement, “We’re not giving up on [diplomatic] engagement with Iran, but on a number of occasions Iran has behaved in a way in recent weeks and months which has intensified confrontation with the rest of the world. We have seen an increasing predilection for dangerous and illegal adventures on the part of at least parts of the Iranian regime.” The reference to illegal adventures refers to the Iranian attack on the British compound in Tehran, the Iranian attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Iranians continuing efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and Iranian support for hostile militant terrorist organizations.

 Speaking Monday on Venezuelan state television, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “The Americans have perhaps decided to give us this spy plane. We now have control of this plane.”

The FARS News agency in Tehran, in an article dated December 13, took a belligerent stand: “U.S. President Obama is hoping that the Iranian government is in a Christmas mood because he has asked Tehran to send him his Christmas present back.”

According to a senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the drone will not be returned. The commander said, “This is not only an intelligence victory for us, but a defeat for our enemies.”

Iran agrees with American sources which indicate the drone was downed through a sophisticated cyber-attack. According to FARS, the CIA and the Pentagon are considering a number of options to retrieve the plane, including a commando raid and/or an air strike. Such actions, they mention, would constitute an act of war.

The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations’ air defenses undetected. It utilizes satellite positioning for navigation. The existence of the aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Iranian state broadcaster Thursday evening released the first images of the highly advanced US stealth spy drone. Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces made a special televised appearance to the Iranian people to explain the capture.

Again, according to Tehran press releases, the United States is concerned that an examination of the craft might find weaknesses that China or other nations could use to an advantage in avoiding detection of future surveillance flights.

The drone was programmed to destroy data in the event of a malfunction, but the destruction failed.

About John Lake

John Lake the tireless crusader of the liberal blog stymies us with his political and breaking news views. In addition he makes continuing contributions to the wide world of empirical science. And finally, his strange takes on life in the pursuit of humor are a treat and a delight.
  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    The destruct feature sure seems like something that should have had, in the strictest sense, a fail-safe.

    I’m less worried about this than a lot of people. I have tried reverse-engineering a variety of things in my career. Although knowing that something can be done helps, the exact process and/or procedure to do it is not trivial. I suspect that less will be learned from the drone than hoped or feared.

  • Igor

    I second OA. Maybe this drone is a Trojan Horse. It may be sending out information on Irans secrets at this very moment.

  • John Lake

    Possibly the Iranians are more slick than we had realized. Possibly they were able to gain control of the drone with radio waves (gift of some spy or agent) and landed it without triggering the destroy function.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yes, they are. They’re Persians.

    Personally, I do hope they succeed when it comes to making good on the drone. Our indiscriminate use of the device has got to be curbed, and what better way then …

    All bullies have got to be taught their lesson.

  • zingzing

    remember that includes you, roger, whether you like it or not.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Oh, my goodness, is this your first greeting to me after extended absence? Even after the email I sent you, expressing concern, which had gone unanswered?

    And how does it relate to the subject matter other than the typical put-down remark?

    Still feel sore, zing, don’t you? I was hoping you wouldn’t.

    Let’s cut a deal, then. I’ll stay out of your way if you stay out of mine.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    John,

    Taking over the drone would be fairly complicated – the signals would be encrypted, at the very least. I have some experience with the Predator and Reaper systems and suspect that the controls are similar. I heard something this past weekend about them “hacking” the system, but I remain skeptical.

  • zingzing

    aww, that’s sweet. i hadn’t noticed you sent an email…. i just went on vacation, that’s all. two blissful weeks of no work and no fucking internet.

    it’s not a typical putdown. it’s just suggesting that you remember who the bullies are in this case, roger, and how little your protestations of personal innocence would matter if america got a dose of its own medicine. a simple statement of fact, nothing more. we’re all in this together, “whether you like it or not.”

    but if you want to take it as loaded with anomisity towards you, that’s on you. i’m sorry if you feel that way, but it’s nothing i’ve done. it won’t be the start of some fight if you just relax a bit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, zing, how else should I have interpreted it, com’on.

    I’m game for a fresh start if you are. I don’t want to expand needless energy for stupid tet-a-tets. OK?

    Anyway, I did sent you an email a week or so ago, wondering what the hell had become of you.

    See, I ain’t such a bad guy in spite of rumors to the contrary.

  • John Lake

    I hope the occupy people don’t come to see us an bullies to be punished. A difficult scenario to imagine. Maybe a new political party. Hmmm.
    [emphasis] I truly hope not [/empasis]

  • zingzing

    interpret it for what it is, roger. i understand you’re going to look for some animosity in there, given our past, but if it’s not there, it’s not there, and it’s not there, so it’s not there.

    i’ll print out your email and pin it to the wall. it’ll look out o’er me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No big deal about the email, zing, didn’t amount to anything more than what I just said, wondering about you, that’s all.

    Who is “us,” John? My reference was rather clear, I think, the US imperialistic policy. And if the occupy folk have any sense, they’ll surely ought to be aware of it, for it all comes in bunches, both foreign and domestic affairs.

    Lest you didn’t know, imperialism is a disease, a deadly disease, and it takes no prisoners. All are affected,.

    So then again, it all comes down to the original question: Who is “we” or “us”?

    You don’t have to answer this very moment. In fact, you ought to give it some thought.

  • John Lake

    During the administration of George Walker Bush scholars wrote about Imperialism, or what we might call military expansionism (a part and partial of fascism), which we change slightly when instead of taking over the overthrown government, we rather place locals in the office, locals that are favorable to our needs. During that Bush administration critics spoke of “global preeminence” (exceptionalism?). Other phrases used were, “exploitation for commercial ends,” and “territorial control.” They spoke during that Bush administration of “Washington’s imperial ambitions”
    Bush stopped at nothing, killing a hundred thousand, torturing those who opposed him, those accused of terrorism, not to prevent more terror attacks, but to obtain evidence for those already in holding centers.
    This “nation building” continues; I suspect the Taliban tribes are harvesting more that grain and goats, and the ongoing battle regards who reaps the profits. But American soldiers are warned not to interfere with contraband crops, because that would provoke more and greater terrorism, to an extent where the battle wouldn’t be worth the cost. Minerals and other valuables are at stake, as our sometimes foe Russia well knows.
    What happens when the fascist, expansionist imperialists run out of money? That isn’t discussed because such weakness is politically unwise.
    I feel a little foggy, and it’s late.

  • Cannonshop

    I think they’re going to crack it open, look at the technology, then look at the X-box they bought from a Hong Kong used shop, and begin giggling. Why? because the tech in the drone’s probably less advanced than what you can build with off-the-shelf commercial electronics.

    Drones are used, because Drones are Disposeable, unlike Aviators, you use them because losing one doesn’t spell much of a danger to your operational capability-it doesn’t know anything, and it’s made of things that anyone with a schematic and access to New Egg and Radioshack can duplicate.

    Of course, I could be wrong-the idiots in the Pentagon might’ve specc’ed out and bought a Drone with LOADS of proprietary, cutting-endge tech with the idiotic ideal that it would be immune to malfunctions and/or enemy action, but one can hope the denizens of the Puzzle Palace are smarter than your average five-year-old in terms of how to do their jobs.