December 6th, 2011
08:31 AM ET

Downed drone was on CIA mission

By CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

A U.S. stealth drone that crashed in Iran last week was part of a CIA reconnaissance mission which involved both the intelligence community and military personnel stationed in Afghanistan, two U.S. officials confirmed to CNN Tuesday.

A senior U.S. official with direct access to the assessment about what happened to the drone said it was tasked to fly over western Afghanistan and look for insurgent activity, with no directive to either fly into Iran or spy on Iran from Afghan airspace.

A U.S. satellite quickly pinpointed the downed drone, which apparently sustained significant damage, the senior official said.

"The Iranians have a pile of rubble and are trying to figure what they have and what to do with it," the senior U.S. official said. The drone crashed solely because its guidance system failed, the official said.

Officials confirmed to CNN it was an RQ-170 drone that was lost.

Another U.S. official confirmed that when the drone crashed, the United States briefly considered all potential options for retrieving the aircraft or bombing the wreckage, but those ideas were quickly discarded as impractical.

The officials have direct knowledge of the events, but spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the intelligence matters. CIA officials have declined to comment.

Indications of the intelligence community's involvement in the drone incident emerged over the weekend, when NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan issued a statement saying, "The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to which the Iranians are referring may be a U.S. unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status."

Several coalition officials said at the time they had no direct knowledge of the incident and they were essentially ordered to put out this statement. It's significant that the statement only says "operators" of the UAV, without saying which part of the military or U.S. government might have been operating it, one coalition official said.

U.S. officials are discounting the Iranian claim that they shot the drone down. The United States continues to say the crew of the UAV lost flight control and the drone then entered Iranian airspace.

American officials over the years have been adamant that U.S. assets do not fly over Iranian air space.

The RQ-170 Sentinel is a stealth drone developed by Lockheed Martin for the Air Force to help provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Iranian media reported that the RQ-170 was slightly damaged and in the hands of Iranian forces.

"Armed forces with a dominant control over the country's borders managed to identify and down the invading plane," reported Iran's official news agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency.

An unnamed Iranian military official called it a "clear example of aggression" and added that Iran is "fully ready to counter any aggression," the report said.

In July, Iran's military made a similar claim, saying it downed a U.S. "spy drone" flying near its Fordo nuclear enrichment plant in Qom province. But Iran backtracked on the statement a few days later, saying the incident was actually part of a training exercise.

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  27. Clinton

    I seriously hope our country is able to withdraw from Afghanistan soon. Our economy appears to be rebounding, people are going back to work, we have forced the politicians in this country to start looking at the problems we care about and that they should have cared about all along, now it's time to bring our soldiers home, get the financial house back in order, and hopefully find a way to be a little less involved in that part of the world. I can't wait for the day we put electric motors in every car and power ourselves with renewable energy like solar etc. let the rest of the world squabble over the middle east and it's oil. These barbaric societies don't deserve to exist and once we stop paying them for Oil... they will crumble and finally the world will be rid of that wasteland known as the middle east and it's people that pray for death and destruction. Iraqis... Iranians... Afghanis, all of these people... not all but many are just flat out EVIL!

    December 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  28. Jannai

    Obama is begging to Iranians for lost drone.
    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2. America invaded Iraq in 2003 and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and displaced 5,000,000+ Iraqi.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government and installed dictator.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. America's public debt will be 23 trillion by 2015.

    December 14, 2011 at 2:53 am | Reply
    • SoCalSooner

      Yea, your correct Jannai, that is why I am moving to Iran, where the internet is free and I can say any damn thing I want.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • west5150

      Hahahahahahahahahahahah! That was funny.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      Jannai – you're an idiot. Just want to make that part clear. Dumb as they come. Your numbers of casualties, are absolutely incorrect, I was in Iraq, If 1,000,000 iraqis were killed, they'd be lying everywhere blanketing that country, we worked with Iraqis to stabalize their country, the majority of Iraqis that died in Iraq during the war, died because of terrorists from outside of their country, like IRANIAN BACKED TERRORISTS... you and the scum like you support murderers, people that come into a village... tell everyone there to do what they say or they'll cut their heads off... you and your kind have no leg to stand on... hopefully someday soon Iran will step over that line and will light up Tehran so bad it won't stop glowing for a thousand years... you friggin animal.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • SoCalSooner

      This just in –

      Al-Jazeera has just that Iran used UFO to guide the drone into an unknown base call Area 69.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  29. Old Crow Navyvet

    Exploiting an unencrypted guidance signal of a UAV today would not be much different than the exploitation of cold war Soviet ground to air control signals utilized to give commands to aircraft during the 80's. This precluded voice comms between the pilot and the ground controller, while all commands were sent directly to the aircraft for execution. Same principal, you just remove the pilot from the equation. If we could do it in the 80's, who's to say that it couldn't be done to us today!

    December 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  30. Creaturz

    Was on a mission? My money is on "still on a mission".

    December 12, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
  31. OrionStyles

    This is probably what happened.

    It has been known for awhile now that the signal that controls the drones are not secured or encrypted. (yes, that is scary, stupid, and insane)

    This does not mean that someone can simply send a signal to it and take control of it, because there is no way to know how it works, but I'm sure anyone with 1/2 a brain could tap this unencrypted control signal, and after awhile of analysis discern some basic command patterns, and eventually hijack one when the time and opportunity is right.

    It probably wasn't an Iranian who captured it, it was probably a Chinese agent, because that is where the drone is headed next.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • Craig

      The most dangerous sort of people are the ones who have a little bit more knowledge than the average person (who has better things on their mind), but insufficient knowledge or intelligence to comprehend the who truth. These people fill in the blanks in their understanding with conspiracy theories, religion, or whatever else they want to believe.

      First of all, I don't think you understand your own reference. The Wired article is about potential interception of videos beamed down from the UAVs to soldiers in the field, not to command and control of the actual plane. Well, there goes the first 90% of your ridiculous post.

      Second of all, a country like China has more to lose by posting agents in Iran to intercept US drones than it has anything to gain. After all, most of the parts in the drone are likely made in China anyway! Your far fetched speculation is reminiscent of some yahoo relic who is missing the Cold War jargon and conspiracy theory days. China's greatest weapon and mechanism of defence is its economy, not bombs! They purposefully bought and financed our debt so that if we ever attack them, then we are shooting ourselves too. By the same token, if they ever attack us, they are shooting their biggest investment. The Soviet Union on the other hand, never invested in the U.S. It's no wonder the U.S. economy is failing: Because we have a bunch of dimwits who don't understand the true dangers and opportunities confronting our country, and are electing presidents and other government officials who reflect these same dimwitted theories. If you ask me, only people with at least a bachelor's degree who have passed a test about the basic issues facing our nation should have the right to vote. Otherwise, we are just voting based upon hype, including by people like you who go around spreading misinformation to the disservice of our country. Our biggest threat? That's our own failure to innovate and take advantage of growing markets such as China by alienating them instead of selling to their billion or so people.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Reply
      • Roy

        Craig your beliefs and philosophy is the very reason the founding fathers rejected any type of monarchy when the US and the Constitution were formed. Strictly for the people, and by the people, that all US citizens regardless of class or social standing would have a vote and say in government and not just a favored few rich.

        December 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
      • Farrell


        Hype is what we have in this country instead of a balanced, independent, and objective news media. Editors are completely beholden to their corporate masters. To understand Iran and why it is opposed to the U.S. involves going back to 1953 when the democratically elected President of Iran, who wanted to nationalize the country's oil wealth instead of seeing it dissolve into foreign pockets, was overthrown by U.S./British intelligence services. The pretext was that he had communist sypathies, which was absolutely false. In fact, Mossadegh thought the U.S. Constitution was one of the greatest documents ever produced.

        Anyone ever read 'Manufacturing Consent'? When is the last time North Korea's nuclear program was discussed in the mainstream media? Pyongyang has actually detonated a nuclear device and has succesfullly tested missiles in <1000 km range. Why Iran, why now? Those are the questions people should be asking.

        December 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • mike

      the thing the iranian s are showing is a model of a stealth drone. the model is made from foam, now i have seen the real one and if you look at the back it s not as thick or compared to the real one the shape they show wont contol air flow. if u really look at what there showing it s clear they looked at blueprints and old video and tried to make a copy. if they had the real one banged up or even if they really could hack into them those guys don t have enoughf descresion not to show the real one if they had it, like i said a fake, a deacent one, but if they had thereal one . our gov would trak it and drop a bomb on it so there was no evidence, in that case they would show wreckage, so all that said the drone the iranians show is a half as copy without the details anyone who has seen the real one knows..

      December 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  32. Andrew

    This story has more lies than miles to the moon; and from all sides. Sometimes, I wonder just what the hell my tax dollars are being used to do. Nobody in the CIA EVER comes clean and so therefore they lie.
    And the Iranians, all blustering out their chests as if they had a clue or could do anything about it. What a farce they are and everybody knows it but them. The Iranian barbarians are like cavemen who found a rod and reel. Maybe those 'short skirts that cause earthquakes" got lowered below the knees.
    At any rate, this cluster-YouKnowWhat, is as monkey's intercoursing a football. Anytime the CIA is invloved I think "billions wasted" and anytime the Iranians are invloved I think "next nuclear weapon dropped spot". When both are invloved I think "Vodka Collins time" and I don't even drink.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  33. slans31

    Funny how the "downed drone" they were showing on the news ALL DAY TODAY was the tail section from the stealth helecopter...get it right, media cannot wait to put out "information" right, wrong, rumored, as long as it gets out "first" they make the dollar...No matter how many people it kills or hurts. Wierd how currency, no matter from what country is worth more than blood. From human trafficking, creating info to perusade world markets, money rules all. Can you eat it and it provide actual nurishment for your body???nope. It clouds the minds of world leaders and we are those who are stepped on for it. Wake up world, we are all in it together, like it or not, no matter your religion as long as you believe there is some kind of hope. If not, let things keep going the way they are...that'll suck.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  34. BigdaddyUSA

    Yes they shot it down electronically. They all pointed their iPhones at it and pushed send and it fell down. The only thing Iran knows how to shoot down are their protesters!

    December 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • MD

      Its called an EMP pulse and it disables electronics systems, not really that new of technology that they prob have, get a clue moron

      December 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Reply
      • Roy

        Its called an EMP pulse and it disables electronics systems, not really that new of technology that they prob have, get a clue moron

        Well unless Iran detonated some type of nuclear device an EMP wasn't the cause.

        December 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  35. JJ

    Quit futzing around. It's ours. That much is obvious. Denying it is just plain stupid.

    December 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  36. markiejoe

    This story comes under the Extremely Difficult to Believe category.

    First, don't our drones have some sort of self-destruct mechanism that could have been employed?

    Second, if it "crashed" or was "taken down", wouldn't it have severe and noticeable damage?

    Third, if the downed drone contains so much sensitive information, and if the U.S. knew the location of the lost drone almost immediately, why wouldn't we have sent in a second drone ASAP to blow the captured drone to smithereens and thus destroy all sensitive information?

    There's a few more, but I'll stop here.

    December 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  37. SoCalSooner

    Why not show the landing gear and the sensors?

    December 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • grant

      trust me, it is no harm to us. If it was we would of had rangers pick it up an hour, or the seal pick it up 3 hours after it went down.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  38. TXguy1999

    I know that I shouldn't believe that they (iran) doesn't know what to do with the downed drone, but here is my take.
    I love (sarcasticly) how the liberal us media takes an incident like this and just goes all into it with "expert opinions", sharing ideas and information that tell me: "hey, if iran didn't know what they were going to do with it, thanks to you, liberal media, now they have some ideas". Like the guy stating, "oh, they shouldn't try to build their own copy, just
    farm out the work, and then get one from those that reverse engineered it". Thanks, Mr. Amerian, like they really need
    more help in trying to hurt the great US of A. ... Just my opinion.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Reply
    • mickey1313

      the media clears all stories with the milatary, if they didnt want it said, it would not be said. One can only conclude that the drone tech is old.

      December 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  39. StayPuft MarshmallowMan

    We're also missing a president...

    December 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  40. bobby

    Don't worry to much they have even better technology than that. (area 51) That drone is obsolete .

    December 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  41. Alex Cross

    I love how people on here know EXACTLY what happened with this drone. In fact these people have no clue. Freedom of speech should be banned for the stupid. Now get back to your reality tv shows everyone.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • Roy

      Obviously Freedom of Speech should be banned to Asshole Jerks to. But thanks to The First Amendment all have freedom of speech.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      Yeah, we should ban free speech for stupid people. We'll start with you, since there's really no quantifiable way to exercise judgment in stupidity.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • mike

      if u have ever seen the real drone u would know the shape is all wrong they took a good sclupture maker and showed him all the info on the drone and he made a life size model

      December 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  42. mindcrime

    Actually, the Iranians hacked the craft and landed it intact.

    There is footage of this that was just released on BBC, the CIA is lying outright.

    The Cyber War is NOW!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • EatYouAlive

      The cyber war is only in your fucked up brain.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  43. drtom1957

    The US government is totally lying about what happened. This plane was on a mission to spy on the Iranian Nuclear program and was shot down. The damage done by the impact of whatever hit it was so great that the detonate circuit failed. Now whatever is left of this plane is in the hands of Chinese scientist who are reverse engineering it as we speak.

    December 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Reply
    • rick

      you should probably put down the John LeCarre novel while your posting your comment

      December 8, 2011 at 10:10 am | Reply
    • P

      The Chinese built the thing in the first place probably.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  44. Craven

    Just about a month ago there was a story about how they found a virus or a Trojan in some software that was loaded into one of our drones. isn't it possible that by using this software the Iranians or someone else helping them actually took control of this drone and actually landed it keeping ALL of the stealth technology as well as other technology intact? I wonder why no one has put forth this distinct although remote possibility? I would also like to know the possible consequences of this having happened. I have yet to hear from one government official about this mainly because I have yet to hear one Journalist ask the question. If this is the case This is a very Big deal and we need to address the possibility as soon as possible instead of sticking our heads in the sand. Could one of our drones be taken over and used against us this way? If the answer is NO then How can you be so sure. I mean I am sure that if asked if a virus or Trojan could get into the software loaded into the drones before it actually happened then the answer would have been NO WAY but Now it has already happened and if so then how can you say the other could not happen

    December 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
  45. J House

    These airvraft definitely fly pre-programmed missions, but they can be updated real-time. This bird did not 'stray' over Iran and its mission was likely a SIGINT/ELINT set of tasks (i.e., to listen in and intercept electronic signals from their radars, missile testing or nuclear program). It would certainly be programmed to fly home if it lost contact with the statellite or relay to ground station. It most likely had a catastrophic failure or even could have been shot down if it was daylight at the time. There may not be much left of it if it crashed from a high altitude.

    December 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  46. Farrell

    Why is it so implausible that Iran could shoot this drone down? A Serbian artillery battery employing missile technology from 1961 shot down a supposedly invisible U.S. F-117 in 1999.

    Interesting reading/watching:

    December 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  47. TigerLily1945

    Do you mean to tell me that with all of our technology that we did not build in a device that would totaly incinerate the plane if another country took possesion? And I don't mean blow it up into a lot of little peices but actually burn it to a pulp. How stupid are we............ a first grader would tell you to burn it up if it got into the wriong hands!!!! It is one thing to have tecnical difficulties with any mechanical device, but in this case we don't build in a safe guard..... what is shutting down the computers when the whole plane is a gold mine. We are one stupid country be.

    December 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Farrell

      If the drone no longer responds to remote control, it would be rather tricky to activate the 'incinerate' switch, wouldn't it? So if you no longer have remote communication, that would mean a built in kill swith that activates when? Maybe you could enigneer it to activate on impact with the ground (which will already cause significant damage ), but then what if it lands hard or encounters some other non-routine jarring while airborne? Also, some metals and composites don't burn so well.

      December 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Reply
      • Roy

        If the drone no longer responds to remote control, it would be rather tricky to activate the ‘incinerate’ switch, wouldn’t it? So if you no longer have remote communication, that would mean a built in kill swith that activates when? Maybe you could enigneer it to activate on impact with the ground (which will already cause significant damage ),

        The device would activated within a specified time or instantly at the moment communications are lost with base contact and it is called an auto destruct. The SR71 Blackbird carried a similar destruct device. If a code wasn't keyed during flight at a specified range the plane would auto destruct. It was to prevent the plane from falling into enemy hands.

        December 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • drtom1957

        Every launch rocket made has a detonate circuit that activates if the rocket loses contact with the controllers. The US government is totally lying about what happened. This plane was on a mission to spy on the Iranian Nuclear program and was shot down. The damage done by the impact of whatever hit it was so great that the detonate circuit failed. Now whatever is left of this plane is in the hands of Chinese scientist who are reverse engineering it as we speak.

        December 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
      • Farrell


        The SR71 was a manned reconnaisance aircraft. And you're saying that there was a self-destruct mechanism for any instance where it was out of contact? Yikes! Would have sucked to be on of those pilots.

        December 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
      • Roy

        Yes the SR71 was a manned reconnaissance aircraft. Those pilots authorized to fly would have to have by necessity been provided with the code. It was to prevent anyone from stealing the SR71, I choose to think the SR71 could have also been destroyed from the ground in case anyone tried to fly it out of it's authorized airspace. And agreed all of this is pure speculation on my part.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
      • gary

        Should have had a self destruct at a certain altitude. Without the signal from it's base it goes "poof".

        December 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
      • Roy

        I repeat, the fucking CIA meant for the God Damned Iranians to get it or they would not have gotten it. Fucking bastards in the CIA doesn't willingly give away anything unless they get in return at least 10 times what the cost of it was.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
      • EatYouAlive

        Or not. Fucking psycho.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • CJA

      How do you know this did not happen. You don't need to destroy the entire plane only a few very small parts. You also don't need radio contact to send the destruct signal, there could be impact sensors that would trigger it if the plane hit the ground hard. MUCH safer then having a big bomb on board, just a few very tiny ones are enough

      December 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  48. SatelliteSteve

    Maybe it just ran out of jet fuel?

    December 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  49. Kiumars Irani

    When USA shot down an Iran-Air airplane they initially said that it was a F14 fighter plane, and then after a few days (after Iran produced videos of the incidents) the Americans admitted that it was a civilian airplane that was mistaken for a fighter airplane! But later they gave the medal of honours to the guy who killed 300 Iranian civilians!
    Judging by this backdrop I cannot believe anything the Americans say.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • Mehrdad

      could u all dumb islamic republic dogs shut ur **** off?we are not in 18th century anymore!be reasonable.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:15 am | Reply
    • melvinslizard

      Let me get this straight, you actually think the US gave the pilot that accidentally shot down an Iranian civilian airliner killing 300 innocent people the MEDAL OF HONOR for the incident? Somebody's been drinking the kool-aid...

      December 7, 2011 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • rick

      we are all confident that that Iran is always truthful especially when it comes to their nuclear aspirations and the myth of the hplocaust

      December 8, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
  50. totalcollapse

    Time to turn off CNN you really thing the Gov would tell you the truth.

    First they say it was not missing..then Iran comes up with it, and suddenly it "oh, it crashed."

    WAKE UP!!

    Iran shot it down!!

    its on every other news site on the planet, other than CNN...they don't want to get the people freaked out.

    Do you people know about the law that was just passed in the middle of the night last week S.1867?

    They can drag any American out of his house " Disappear" them , and hold them for life without trial??

    WAKE UP!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • totalcollapse

      ..Oh...and did they tell you China's Pres. Hu told his Navy to prepare for combat...

      Against the US...Today??

      Again on every news station on the planet except CNN...

      December 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Reply
      • Farrell

        Not true. It was one crazy Chinese general at their National Defense University – someone who is not even a combatant commander.

        You need to get your facts right on that front, however you are correct that CNN is a worthless, peice of crap of a newsource. Nancy Grace about sums up their relevance as a force to be taken seriously!

        December 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
      • rick

        still listening to Howard stern for your news , i see.

        December 8, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • rick

      the us gov can only do this to aliens from other planets. get your facts straight!

      December 8, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • EatYouAlive

      You are fucking retarded.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  51. angryed

    The message to Iran is clear.....we are watching you

    December 6, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  52. Retired Floridian

    I am so happy that Iran has gotten ahold of really top of the line U.S. electronic spy apparatus. Now, they will be able to use it and duplicate it to spy back on U.S. forces and Israel to head off any offensive attack on their country or get their thousands of missiles of the ground quickly to make anyone who tries pay a horrible, but justified price for aggression. Furthermore, since Israel has nukes which the U.S. and Europe pretend don't exist and since Pakistan and India were allowed to get nukes with no real opposition form the U.S., they can now feel confident in proceeding to build nuclear missiles and artillery rounds for quick deploymewnt in the next 12-18 months in self-defense. Alsao, they will certainly be able to trade the drone technology to China and / or Russia and / or Pakistan to speed their acquisition of nuke tech and sophisticated missles and anti-missile systems. So nice of us to screw up (as we always ultimately do) and help remove our ability to start another offensive war in that part of the worls! Yes!!!!

    December 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Reply
    • B-737

      Thanks for sharing your views, "Retired Floridian." Back on your meds now.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Reply
      • climp

        whatever RFis taking i want some

        December 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
      • Kiumars Irani

        He is taking "reality pills"; and you need some before you get to puberty! For your information F-35 (the most expensive fighter airplane) is built on the same technology that RQ170 is built on.
        Now F-35 is worthless!

        December 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
      • Mike84

        Shoot i want what Kiumars Irani's on he been going on a fun crazy trip tonight

        December 7, 2011 at 3:35 am |
    • rick

      if i had your e mail address i could send you proof positive that Israel and the US military are controlled by aliens from the planet Keppler 22b. [note "Keppler" is a jewish name]. by the way, dont let a little dementia slow you down.

      December 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • CJA

      You can't just copy an thing like this from a pile of wreckage. First off what is the critical part is the software and the electronics and you don't just get much to copy from a wreck. Try this as an experiment. Drop your computer from a tall building then set it on fire. Next try and recreate that video game your were playing from only the information you can get from the smoking rubble pile. It would be easier to start from scratch.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  53. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Hey just think. When the GOP regain power, they will start a war with Iran (totally unfunded of course). Then they will draft all the poor people to fight/die in the war and give "no bid" contracts to the rich people. Killing two birds with one stone. Then we can use Iran's oil to pay for the war. And when the war is over, Iran will sell us cheap oil!! Just like in Iraq!!!.............Oh wait........Never mind.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • jaka$$

      Really? Are you that clueless.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Reply
      • GOPisGreedOverPeople

        Absolutely not clueless. It already happened in Iraq. jaka$$ fits you well.

        December 7, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Ryan

      Correction, Iran has no oil. This is the U.S. policing the world again. How are we going to pay for this. Have our Federal Reserve print more money to pay for the war. Iran doesn't lose, we lose when our dollar is worth less.

      YaY America.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  54. alexander

    for other remote contra planes,Army engineers should equip them with self destructive device once contact is lost,other wise am deeply sorry Iran having this technology

    December 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • ACES

      Thank you for your intelligence.. I bet you are not American.. coz they got some low IQ's for some reason

      December 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  55. Dean

    Honestly, I don't buy the Government’s explanation one bit. I pretty sure the Predators are programmed to fly home course if signal is lost. So I'm pretty sure this drone, which was way more advanced, had something similar. It didn’t just wander into Iranian airspace, it was either already there or tracking a preprogrammed flight plan.

    By principle you don’t need a big expensive stealth drone for Afghanistan anyhow, what are you worried about, the big bad Taliban air defense network?

    I hate to see more of our advanced technology getting in the hands of our enemies. But I guess how else would our defense industry get billions of dollars in R&D funding unless we had sufficient sustained probable cause to spend that money to stay ahead of our potential advisories capability wise? Why not help them along a little bit... it only puts our troops at risk.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      Well, I suppose they COULD be programmed to fly back to home station. That would make a lot of sense. Of course, the programmer had better know how to program the right coords.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • Kiumars Irani

        You watch too many Sci-Fi movies; the fact is that these expensive gadgets are not that cleaver! Everybody says what they should be doing but they have no clue of the reality and operational conditions! The safety bag of your car is supposed to inflate and save your life in the event of an accident but lots of drivers die everyday because they rely on it too much! When was the last time you tested your car’s safety bag?

        December 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
      • Roy

        You watch too many Sci-Fi movies; the fact is that these expensive gadgets are not that cleaver! Everybody says what they should be doing but they have no clue of the reality and operational conditions!

        Apparently you don't watch enough of them, or really don't believe what Science, the CIA, the FBI and the Government really is capable of.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
      • Mike84

        Kiumars Irani have you tested yours lately? if not might want to go give it a shot if it works come back and tell us. i concur with the last reply as well if you don't think the US gov got some crazy tech you living in a fantasy world I would guess that this drone was not our best or close to it. you don't hear about the good stuff crashing thats where you find a crater

        December 7, 2011 at 3:39 am |
  56. charms

    I'm shocked that Iran shot down the most advanced stealth drone we have. Very surprised! After all that huge defense budget?

    December 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • svann

      What makes you think this is our most advanced?
      from wikipedia: The design lacks several elements common to stealth engineering, namely notched landing gear doors and sharp leading edges. It has a curved wing planform, and the exhaust is not shielded by the wing.[10] Aviation Week postulates that these elements suggest the designers have avoided 'highly sensitive technologies' due to the near certainty of eventual operational loss inherent with a single engine design and a desire to avoid the risk of compromising leading edge technology.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
      • Mark

        I'm sorry, but did you just cite "wikipedia" as your primary source?

        December 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
      • svann

        Wiki referenced Aviation Week. Are you saying Aviation Week is wrong?

        December 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
      • charms

        svan: wikipedia cited your source right? do your own homework you idiot Don't ever cite wikipedia in an argument

        December 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
      • jerry

        yeah he cited wikioedia, nothing wrong with that buddy, dont hate thanks.

        December 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
      • ACES

        OMG.. wikipedia must be referring to a B-16 stealth bomber..not a effin drone

        December 6, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  57. Jack Sparrow

    Easily the best commentary when it comes to anything like this. Much more detailed than what you will find here or other aviation/defense outlets. This guy got the stealth blackhawk story before anyone else. Check it out, scroll down there was a post yesterday on this too.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      Thanks for the link. There is great insight involved there.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • horselover1

      Agree! An excellent site by someone who knows what he is writing about and takes care to distinguish uninformed from informed claims.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  58. Struth

    Here is why the future of unmanned/remote controlled drones/cars/whatever is a short one: Anything that can be remotely controlled can be remotely hacked, and used against it's previous owner.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  59. Jon

    One more example of why elections really do matter.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  60. SoulTrain1946

    Anyone with half a brain can see the downed drone is a red herring, providing nothing but false and misleading information and technology.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  61. Former US Soldier

    This is why myself and others don't believe that the public needs to hear this type of information. The common person will not be able to make the proper conclusion and only desensitizes the public.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Not logical

      Are you saying non-soldier citizens are idiots???

      December 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Reply
      • Roy

        This is why myself and others don’t believe that the public needs to hear this type of information. The common person will not be able to make the proper conclusion and only desensitizes the public.

        Are you saying non-soldier citizens are idiots???

        Sure reads that way, now don't it LOL.

        December 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  62. stupiddecision

    What an idiot design. This thing should be equipped with self-destruct just in case of this kind of event. The entire plan should have been exploded when the operator lost control. We can a 5 mil drone, but we can't afford self-destruct feature???? What a stupid design and stupid cost saving decision.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • Adml. Jerrison.

      Remember that the active tech being used on battle fields are at least a decade old. The true high tech state of the art drones are above top secret and thus the drone that Iran has pieces of is old US military surplus. Do any of you believe that the USA would even remotely risk advanced tech getting in the hands of Iran, china , and Russia? Of course not! These drones are looking for people and camps along the boarders. We don’t need ultra high tech for that! Our spy satellites do the heavy work and these drones look for people and camps.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
      • John

        What you say makes a lot of sense, Admiral. The only thing that I am a bit puzzled by is your lumping Iran with China and Russia. China and Russia already have pretty advanced tech–though, no doubt, they could learn a thing or two from the U.S. as well. The opposite issue some have suggested applies to Iran: They wouldn't necessarily know what to do with such advanced tech if it fell in their laps. Would you agree with any of that?

        December 7, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Mark

      So, you've had a look at the specifications of the RQ-170, the most advanced intelligence drone we are known to have? Could you send me the schematics (specifications) on it so that I may see the design flaw you claim to be true? Ah hell, the Iranians already got the plane, so you posting it right here on the CNN blog shouldn't bother anybody. *rolls eyes*

      Should I ask how you expected to initiate a self-destruct sequence on an UNMANNED Aerial Vehicle, when there are no comms to control it to begin with? Perhaps some magical transmitter that can barrel through whatever was causing the disconnect to begin with? Gee, if we had that, then we probably would have been able to steer the plane proper to begin with.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
      • Roy

        Should I ask how you expected to initiate a self-destruct sequence on an UNMANNED Aerial Vehicle, when there are no comms to control it to begin with? Perhaps some magical transmitter that can barrel through whatever was causing the disconnect to begin with? Gee, if we had that, then we probably would have been able to steer the plane proper to begin with.

        Just as cell phones have to be in constant contact with towers to operate, an auto destruct would have to remain in constant contact with the base to prevent it from activating.

        December 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
      • Mark

        Roy, that's a nice idea, but counter-productive if there is a temporary loss in comms which could reestablish itself before being out of "range". Additionally, you'd have to have a payload that would weigh down the UAV, make it more cumbersome and costly to operate, and add additional safety requirements that would prevent accidental detonation from a variety of areas. Trust me, it's hard enough to get electronics to function properly. Imagine adding time bomb technology to it.

        December 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • Roy

        Trust me, it’s hard enough to get electronics to function properly. Imagine adding time bomb technology to it.

        Well now Mark that's a nice thought and I bet you could just charm a cow right out of her calf with them, but unless you have inside information on the whole affair that your not letting the rest of us in on, then I might as well be trusting a spitting cobra in the wild not to spit in my face and my speculation is as good as yours or any of the rest of commenters.

        December 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
      • Mark

        No, I have no inside information. Just playing devil's advocate using a modest background.

        December 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • svann

      From wikipedia: The design lacks several elements common to stealth engineering, namely notched landing gear doors and sharp leading edges. It has a curved wing planform, and the exhaust is not shielded by the wing.[10] Aviation Week postulates that these elements suggest the designers have avoided 'highly sensitive technologies' due to the near certainty of eventual operational loss inherent with a single engine design and a desire to avoid the risk of compromising leading edge technology.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Reply
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