While You Slept III: Putin, Iran, and the Iranian Hijacking of American Military Vehicles

Circumstances of various kinds have prevented me from writing this for a while, but the silence of the general media on this topic for two months has forced me to alert RedState readers to this “behind the scenes” story, which is actually available to anyone with the time to follow it.

I have not yet read anything connecting the dots to Putin.

The American Public has not sufficiently been aware or contemplated the consequences of Iran’s capture of a United States military drone and their ability to hack into our military’s system:

We begin 4 years ago with the Christian Science Monitor of December 15, 2011:


In an exclusive interview, an engineer working to unlock the secrets of the captured RQ-170 Sentinel says they exploited a known vulnerability and tricked the US drone into landing in Iran.  Iran guided the C.I.A.’s “lost” stealth drone to an intact landing inside hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the U.S. military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured drone’s systems inside Iran.

Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off communications links of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, says the engineer, who works for one of many Iranian military and civilian teams currently trying to unravel the drone’s stealth and intelligence secrets, and who could not be named for his safety…

The techniques were developed from reverse-engineering several less sophisticated American drones captured or shot down in recent years, the engineer says, and by taking advantage of weak, easily manipulated GPS signals, which calculate location and speed from multiple satellites.



The Russian Times (RT) has an interesting quote:

The United States originally laughed at Iran’s interception of the craft, with one American official telling Defense News that the act was equivalent to “dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.

However, the Iranians are not stupid, and have scientists with brains and motivation – whether from patriotism or religious factors or both – to damage the United States, Israel, and Western Civilization in general.

From The Aviationist:

Landing a drone, as well as an airplane, with the autopilot on a runway it’s not only a matter of altitude. There are many other things to consider, like the runway heading, the procedure to be followed on approach to avoid specific areas, known obstacles etc…

…I’m still not certain that, although tricked by GPS spoofing, a drone can be landed safely without taking over control.

…maybe it’s time for the U.S. to reconsider their drones’ equipment, countermeasures and combat operation procedures as well as Iran’s electronic and cyberwarfare capabilities.



Now let’s jump forward to those two small Navy boats captured by the Iranians in the Persian Gulf earlier this month. From CNN on January 14, 2016:

Iranian territorial waters extend for three miles around Farsi Island, according to the official. The boats were supposed to stay out of that area. Farsi Island is a naval base for Iran’s naval component of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and is considered extremely sensitive.

Commanders in the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the region became alarmed when the sailors missed a planned check-in call on their radios. At that point, commanders checked the GPS system tied to the boats and realized they were off course and inside Iranian waters.



Although it is not impossible, what are the odds that G.P.S. systems in two separate vessels will fail simultaneously ?  Especially right when those vessels are in sensitive waters off Iran?

Is it not more likely that – again! – our military’s G.P.S. was over-ridden by the Iranians to send the boats off course?

Four years have gone by, since it became obvious that the goatherders are quite capable of using our technology against us.  If the above assumption about the G.P.S. hijacking of those two boats is correct, one must wonder about the lack of urgency and/or competence in stopping the damage.

Is it possible that the administration’s mania for “normalizing” relations with Iran, including over $100,000,000,000 in interest and unfrozen assets, has prevented our country from properly protecting itself?  This administration’s constant pooh-poohing of danger from Islamic terrorists may be involved in keeping our military vulnerable.

And now let us examine Vladimir Putin’s recent and unlikely love affair with Iran.  From the Russian Times (RT) of November 24, 2015:

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow is ready to provide a $5 billion state loan to Tehran to promote industrial cooperation. Another ‎€2 billion export loan will be granted to Iran by Russian state lender Vnesheconombank.

Russia and Iran agreed on developing cooperation on Monday during President Putin’s visit to Tehran for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

Putin held talks with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei…

The two countries are to continue nuclear power cooperation. The Russian President said the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is working at full capacity, and the construction of the second and third blocks is underway.

Moscow is a strategic partner of Iran,” said the Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh.




Neither Putin nor the Iranian leadership are stupid, and both have no real great interest in anything except placing the United States and Europe at a disadvantage and damaging them as much as possible.

And you have already guessed the final dots: if the Iranians have already hacked and “reverse-engineered” their way into our military’s operations, do you think that Mr. Putin might be interested in their information?

Could this be part of the price?  From The Fiscal Times of January 18, 2016:

There is no questioning the key role that Russia played in the deal getting done. Of all the participants sitting across the table from Iran – the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Russia, and China – Russia was arguably the most crucial.



And the Russians might be willing to be helped by Iranian science:

Russian science has lagged so far behind other countries that it is in danger of falling behind Iran, the head of the country’s Academy of Sciences told President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

“We are seeing explosive worldwide growth in the scientific sphere, which, unfortunately, we are clearly falling behind,” Vladimir Fortov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Using the number of published scientific articles as an indicator of success, Fortov said that over the past 15 years Russia’s output of scientific articles increased by 12 percent — compared to a tenfold increase in China and tripling in India.

“China overtook us in 1997, India in 2005 and Brazil in 2007. Iran is breathing down our neck,” he said.



And so…what exactly could be the reason why Putin is so generous in helping the Iranians secure over $100,000,000,000 of their assets? Why would he offer them a loan of $5,000,000,000 ? Kindness? Or to prove that he is a “major diplomatic player” ?

Probably not! So the question remains: What is in this Iranian normalization deal for Putin? What do the Iranians have that he might want?

The coming months will give us an answer… perhaps.

And to prove that some people REALLY never learn from their mistakes…especially when dealing with dictators:


Update: Jan. 29th

I began these essays (While You Slept) by looking at Putin and Greece. A Russian oil pipeline going into Greece was dominant in the Russian’s mind, and so cozying up to the Greeks and their Socialist leader made sense.

And so this development is very interesting:

The country’s biggest oil refiner, Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE), will resume purchases of crude from the National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC). The deal was announced after a meeting Friday between Amir Hossein Zamaninia, Iran’s deputy oil minister for international affairs, and Greece’s deputy oil minister, Panos Skourletis, in Athens.

Deliveries will begin immediately under a “long-term agreement,” HELPE said in a statement, though it didn’t say how long that term would be. The refiner was one of Iran’s significant buyers of crude before the sanctions regime began in 2011, importing about 20 percent of its oil needs from the Islamic Republic. It owns three of Greece’s four oil refineries.


Update: January 30, 2016

And so, if you think the Iranians are not feeling particularly pugnacious, check this story about an Iranian drone being steered directly over one of our aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

The nuclear-powered USS Harry S. Truman, based in Norfolk, Va., is in the Persian Gulf region launching airstrikes and supporting operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, commander of Iran’s navy, called the drone overflight “a sign of bravery.”