News

US Lawmaker Dismisses Iran's Claims of Building Drone Copy

An undated picture received by Reuters December 8, 2011, allegedly shows members of Iran's revolutionary guard standing next to the captured US drone.
An undated picture received by Reuters December 8, 2011, allegedly shows members of Iran's revolutionary guard standing next to the captured US drone.

The chairman of the U.S. Senate's Homeland Security Committee is dismissing Iran's claim that it has reverse-engineered a U.S. spy drone it captured last year.

Lawmaker Joe Lieberman said Sunday on U.S. television that he considered the claims little more than "Iranian bluster."

Earlier Sunday, a senior Iranian commander declared Tehran had reverse-engineered the drone and begun building a copy.

Iranian news agencies quoted General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, as saying experts also are recovering data from the RQ-170 Sentinel drone captured in December in eastern Iran.

U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the surveillance drone. They have said Iran will find it hard to exploit any data and technology aboard it because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory.

Hajizadeh said the drone contained many "secret codes," but he implied that these had been cracked, saying the spy plane now had "no hidden points."

He said exact information about the drone's history had been recovered indicating that it had flown "above [al-Qaida leader Osama] bin Laden's Pakistani hideout two weeks before he was assassinated."

The Washington Post reported two weeks ago that a CIA stealth surveillance drone flew deep over Iranian territory more than three years ago, capturing images of a secret uranium enrichment facility near Qum before returning home.

The newspaper, quoting former senior U.S. intelligence officials, said there was no sign the aircraft was ever detected. It said such CIA spy planes scoured dozens of suspicious sites related to Iran's disputed nuclear program before the RQ-170 aircraft crashed in December.

Western countries say Iran's nuclear program aims to produce atomic weapons. Iran says the work is solely for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Feature Story

FILE - A passenger aircraft is silhouetted against the rising moon in New Delhi, India, May 7, 2009.

Health Officials Say Ebola Threat to Air Travel Low

Death of an Ebola-infected airline passenger in Nigeria has tipped off fears that illness could spread across the airways to Europe, Asia and the Americas More