Is Iran in possession of satellite jamming technology? A European intelligence source claimed Iran stunned Western intelligence agencies when it managed to "blind a CIA spy satellite by aiming a laser burst quite accurately," in a never before reported incident.
According to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, this unreported incident might suggest that the Iranians have successively gained access to jamming technology, allowing them to track unmanned aerial vehicle navigation capabilities.
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Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Fox News on Sunday that such an option is possible.
Iran presents the US drone (Photo: AFP)
"Some reports have said Russia sold (Iran) a very sophisticated jamming system a short time ago. Now, our military says that is not true, it came down because of a malfunction. I certainly hope that's right because if the Russians have provided Iran with sophisticated jamming equipment it means a lot else is at risk too," said Bolton.
He added that Congress should be quite concerned if Iran is in possession of jamming technology that can bring down missiles, planes and communications and guidance systems "for a whole range of our weapon systems."
Drone's Achilles' heel
An Iranian engineer, trying to decipher the secrets of the CIA drone that was flying over Iranian territory earlier this month, claimed Iranians managed to the craft's frequency, causing it to switch into autopilot mode and land on Iranian territory.
The engineer maintained that the drone's Achilles' heel is its global positioning system (GPS). He explained that by jamming the communication the UAV is forced to switch to autopilot, causing it to lose control.
According to the engineer, Iran was able to jam communication after accumulating data on other US drones which were shot down in Afganistan. Iranian experts were then able to reprogram the GPS data supposedly directing the US craft to land in Iran.
Delaying announcement of capture
Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister said on Saturday that his country deliberately delayed its announcement of the capture of an American surveillance drone to test US reaction.
Ali Akbar Salehi is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Saturday that Iran's armed forces intercepted and brought down the pilotless aircraft without any foreign assistance.
On Friday US offcials said they believe the American stealth drone displayed in Iran had crashed and broke into pieces and was put back together by Iranians to make it seem it was not damaged by the crash, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Iranian military officials were appeared surveying the unmanned aerial vehicle in video clips published last week, which Tehran claimed was shot down or remotely skyjacked before managing to land the drone intact.
However US officials maintained the pilots of the UAV, which was developed by the Air Force but used by the Central Intelligence Agency at the time of the incident, lost control of the drone last week.
The officials claimed the drone broke into three pieces, and added the UAV in question is one the most-sophisticated US spy planes available. Now the American intelligence officials are hard at work trying to asses how badly this incident hurt their capabilities in the region.
'Like a puzzle'
American officials believe the Iranians have managed to reassemble the drone and display it, stirring up a heated discussion among Washington lawmakers who are outraged the sophisticated UAV cannot self destruct in the event that it falls into unwanted hands.
Officials also maintained the drone was repainted by Iran in an attempt to hide the damage caused to the UAV. According to them, the actual color of the drone is charcoal-gray and not white, as it appears to be in the video.
Tehran's claim that the pilot had lost control of the craft has raised suspicion among US officials.
"They did not commandeer it and steer it to the ground," a Washington official stated. "It crashed, and they put it back together to make it look whole, like a puzzle being put back together."
Meanwhile, Google CEO Eric Schmidt asserted that Iran has been developing cyber warfare which might endanger the US in the future.
“The Iranians are unusually talented in cyber war for some reason we don't fully understand,” Schmidt said in an interview with CNN on Thursday.
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