When one of the U.S. Air Force’s secretive RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drones crashed along the Afghanistan-Iran border in December and wound up in the hands of the Iranians, it did only “limited damage” to a U.S.-led effort to spy on Tehran’s suspected nuclear facilities.
That’s one surprising conclusion of a revealing new story published by The Washington Post on Saturday.
The wedge-shaped Sentinel drone was part of a tag-team surveillance effort over Iran that began as early 2006 and also involved the CIA, the communications-intercepting National Security Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency that analyzes satellite imagery and the spy bureaus of America’s closest allies, the Post reports. The major finding of the ongoing effort: that Iran is still a year away from producing a nuclear weapon — if that’s Tehran’s intention. “Certain things are not being done,” an intelligence source says of Iran’s nuclear initiative.