Can someone please explain to me why we didn’t bomb it once it hit the ground instead of letting the Iranians get their hands on top secret technology?
(NY Times) — Iran paraded what its military described as a captured C.I.A. stealth drone on national television on Thursday and lodged an official diplomatic protest, portraying the visual images as an intelligence and propaganda windfall in its conflict with the West over its nuclear program.
The 2.5-minute video clip of the remote-controlled surveillance aircraft was presented by Iran as the first visual evidence that it had had possession of the drone since Sunday, when Iran asserted that its military downed the aircraft 140 miles inside Iranian territory. American officials have said the drone was lost because of a malfunction.
The aircraft shown on Iranian television appeared to be in good condition, which would seem to be inconsistent with an uncontrolled landing, although a close inspection of the images appeared to show a fracture on part of the wing that had been taped.
American officials have identified the missing drone as an RQ-170 Sentinel, an unarmed bat-winged aircraft used by the C.I.A. It can linger undetected for hours at 50,000 feet, far higher than many aircraft, with cameras and other sensor equipment to monitor activity on the ground. An RQ-170 was used to gather intelligence for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May.
The loss of an RQ-170 in Iran is a potentially significant intelligence blow for the United States, which has been stepping up efforts to monitor suspected nuclear sites in Iran.