US sailors divulged sensitive information while held by Iran - Navy

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
U.S. sailors held by Iran gave away too much info: Navy

WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) - U.S. 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 U.S. Navy report said on Thursday.

SEE ALSO: Senator: 'Possible' Trump may lose in a deep-red state

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 U.S. President Barack Obama.

See images of the January incident:

18 PHOTOS
Iran releases detained US sailors
See Gallery
Iran releases detained US sailors
This picture released by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detention of American Navy sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. The nine men and one woman were being held at an Iranian base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf after being detained nearby on Tuesday.(Sepahnews via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows detention of American Navy sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows American Navy boats in custody of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards sort out detained American sailors' weapons in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows American Navy boat in custody of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran's Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows detained American Navy sailors in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows American Navy boats in custody of the guards in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
This picture released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, shows American Navy boats in custody of the guards in an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian state television is reporting that all 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran after entering its territorial waters have been released. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the sailors were released Wednesday after it was determined that their entry was not intentional. (Sepahnews via AP)
In this Nov. 15, 2014, photo, a Riverine Command Boat from Costal Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 escorts the USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (LaTunya Howard/U.S. Navy via AP)
This Nov. 2, 2015, image provided by the U.S. Navy, shows Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 805 in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Torrey W. Lee/U.S. Navy via AP)
In this Oct. 30, 2015, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 805, along with its crew members, is shown transiting through rough seas during patrol operations in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Torrey W. Lee/U.S. Navy via AP)
In this June 27, 2013, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a Riverine Command Boat assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 4, Task Group 56.7.4, transits open water in the Persian Gulf. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Lewis/U.S. Navy via AP)
This Nov. 2, 2015, image provided by the U.S. Navy, shows Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 805 in the Persian Gulf. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Torrey W. Lee/U.S. Navy via AP)
In this Feb. 23, 2013, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, sailors assigned to Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 perform an âEâ stop while conducting patrol operations. Iran was holding 10 U.S. Navy sailors and their two boats, similar to the one in this picture, on Jan. 12, 2016, after the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian waters. American officials have received assurances from Tehran that they will be returned safely and promptly. (Blake Midnight/U.S. Navy via AP)
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

"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 Thursday 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."

PROBLEMS

Problems had plagued the mission from the beginning. The task force commander ordered the 250-nautical-mile transit, the longest the crews had attempted, on short notice, and "severely underestimated" the transit's risks.

"He lacked a questioning attitude, failed to promote a culture of safety, and disregarded appropriate backup from his staff and subordinate commands," the report said.

The boats' captains and crew did not review or follow their planned course from the moment they left port, the report said, and inadvertently went through Saudi Arabian territorial waters before entering Iranian waters off the coast of Iran's Farsi Island in the Gulf.

At one point, the crew members did not realize they were near Farsi Island because none of them zoomed into their navigation system's map.

TAKEN AT GUNPOINT

Near the island, one of the boats had a faulty engine, and the two craft were approached by two IRGC boats, which pointed their weapons. They were soon joined by two other IRGC boats. The boat captains did not direct their gunners to put on protective gear or man their weapons.

SEE ALSO: Dark theory emerges after 14 young girls vanish

Under the standard rules of engagement, U.S. military personnel are obligated to defend their units. However, in the hopes of de-escalating the situation, the captains directed their gunners to step away from their weapons.

"I didn't want to start a war with Iran," one of the boat captains told investigators. "My thought at the end of the day was that no one had to die for a misunderstanding."

The Iranians forced the sailors to remove their body armor, kneel, and place their hands behind their heads, and took video and pictures of the crew doing so. At Farsi Island, they interrogated and detained the sailors overnight before releasing them the next day.

FILMED ACTING HAPPY

The sailors acquiesced to Iranian demands that they eat and act happy while being filmed in order to be released, and one captain read an apology prepared by the Iranians. Unbeknownst to them, the U.S. government already had negotiated their unconditional release.

The report faulted the IRGC for violating international norms. The Iranians replaced an American flag on board with an IRGC one, ransacked the vessels, and damaged equipment, the report said.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei awarded medals to IRGC commanders, and Iranian media broadcast videos of the detainees.

"The Navy investigation confirms what has been obvious from the beginning: that Iran's obstruction, boarding, and seizure of sovereign U.S. Navy vessels at gunpoint and the detention, interrogation, and recording of 10 American sailors were flagrant violations of international law," said U.S. Senator John McCain, a former naval aviator, in response to the report.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners