Joe Lieberman Dismisses
Iran’s Claims of Building US RQ-170 Sentinel Drone Copy
April 22, 2012
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.
photo released on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, by the Iranian Revolutionary
Guards and taken at an undisclosed location claims to show the US RQ-170
Sentinel drone which Tehran says its forces downed earlier this week. In
the banner in background depicting Iranian flag tover which the text
reads: "God is Great", "Down with America", "Down with Israel", "Down
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
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.