Sailors divulged sensitive info while held by Iran, Navy says
WASHINGTON — Sailors who blundered into Iranian waters in January divulged sensitive information to their captors while held at gunpoint by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a Navy report said Thursday.
It said some of the 10 crew members gave away capabilities of their vessels, one of them disclosing his vessel's potential speed and suggesting it was on a “presence” mission to demonstrate U.S. military power in the gulf.
The incident, which embarrassed the United States, rattled nerves days before implementation of a U.S.-nuclear accord between Iran and world powers negotiated by the administration of President Obama.
“It is clear that some, if not all, crew members provided at least some information to interrogators beyond name, rank, service number and date of birth,” the report said.
The report redacted names, but the Navy last week identified the commander of the boats' task force as Captain Kyle Moses and said he had been relieved of his command. In May, the Navy fired Eric Rasch, commander of the squadron that included the sailors.
The report said two people had faced administrative action and it recommended action on six others.
The Navy report blamed the incident on poor planning, leaders who did not properly consider risks, and complacency, a lack of oversight and low morale. The sailors were traveling in two vessels to Bahrain from Kuwait.
At a news conference, Navy officials acknowledged that the crew and commanders had made serious mistakes.
“Our actions on that day in January and this incident did not live up to our expectations of our Navy,” Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said. “Big incidents like this are always the result of the accumulation of a number of small problems.”