Fallen US Drone Nearly Led to Covert Strike in Iran
New reports on the CIA drone lost in Iran last week reveal the scope of the stealth plane's mission and just how far the U.S. was willing to go to recover it. The Associated Press reports on Wednesday that despite U.S. military statements Monday suggesting the drone was lost while flying a mission in western Afghanistan, Iranian officials say the RQ-170 drone was detected about 140 miles from the border of Afghanistan, deep inside the country's air space. U.S. officials, speaking on background, confirmed the RQ-170 drone had been spying on Iran for years but did not indicate the extent to which it penetrated Iranian air space. They did say the U.S. air base in Shindad, Afghanistan, was designed to launch "surveillance missions and even special operations missions into Iran if deemed necessary."
In a sign of how badly the U.S. wanted the stealth drone back, The Wall Street Journal reports that it contemplated three different operations to recover the fallen drone. One plan involved sending commandos in Afghanistan assisted by U.S. agents in Iran to track down and recover the drone. "Another option would have had a team sneak in to blow up the remaining pieces of the drone," reports the Journal. "A third option would have been to destroy the wreckage with an airstrike."