Navy officials acknowledged that some of the U.S. sailors held by Iran in January gave away too much information.
A U.S. Navy report said on Thursday that some of the 10 crew members divulged sensitive information, including their ship’s potential speed and capabilities, according to Reuters. One sailor reportedly said the vessel was on a “presence” mission, demonstrating the military power of the U.S. in the Gulf region.
“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, according to Reuters.
The embarrassing incident in January found U.S. sailors held at gunpoint by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, just days before the nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by President Obama was implemented. Iranian media broadcast images of the sailors, kneeling with their hands behind their heads and even had one captain read an apology prepared by the Iranians.
At a news conference on Thursday, Navy officials admitted that serious mistakes had been made by the crew and commanders, Reuters reported.
“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.”
The Navy report faulted poor planning and poor risk-assessment by leaders as reasons for the incident. Complacency, a lack of oversight and low morale were also cited as factors.
Two people had faced administrative action, the report noted and action was recommended on six others. Though names were redacted in the report, The Navy identified the commander of the boats’ task force as Captain Kyle Moses last week. Moses had been relieved of his command, the Navy said. Eric Rasch, commander of the squadron that included the sailors, was fired in May.
The report said that Moses “lacked a questioning attitude, failed to promote a culture of safety, and disregarded appropriate backup from his staff and subordinate commands.”
U.S. Senator John McCain, a former naval aviator, responded to the Navy report.
“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,” he said.
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