How Iran hacked super-secret CIA stealth drone

Undated picture shows member of Iran's revolutionary guard pointing at U.S. RQ-170 unmanned spy plane as he speaks with Hajizadeh at unknown location in Iran (	REUTERS/Handout)
More damage is being dished out to the US intelligence community as sources in Iran admit to hacking the CIA’s lost drone and bringing it down with not much more than computer navigating know-how.

Engineers with the Iranian military are admitting to the Christian Science Monitor that the dramatic disappearance of a multi-million dollar stealth drone aircraft suffered by the United States two weeks ago was indeed a result of their own doing, claiming now that they managed to hijack the system inside the craft with ease and bring it to a safe landing without incident.

The United States originally denied they lost a drone over Iran before changing their story and insisting that they lost contact with the craft during a surveillance mission over neighboring Afghanistan. Iranian officials quickly corrected Americans by displaying footage of the spy-plane and revealing that it was apprehended over 100 miles from the country’s border with Afghanistan.

RT has reported throughout the ordeal that the downing of the drone could have resulted from a budding cyber war between American and Iranian intelligence. Now officials overseas are insisting that they did indeed hack the craft to quietly bring it down.

Speaking to the CSM, an engineer responsible for the interception speaking on condition of anonymity says that technicians managed to hack into the craft’s GPS navigation, which the official describes as “weak.”

"By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain,” says the source.

Less than two weeks after the RQ-170 Sentinel was lost over Iran, US officials cited a system malfunction as the culprit in another drone that crashed over the Indian Ocean on Tuesday this week.

In a report out of RT earlier this week, we rehashed an earlier incident at Nevada’s Creech Air Force base in the United States from months earlier that left a key logger-virus installed in the cockpits of the military’s drones. We added to the report on Wednesday this week, citing an investigation out of Univision that linked Iranian officials with Mexican hackers in an alleged cyber war plot to attack the American intelligence community, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency, Pentagon and Department of Defense.

The RQ-170 Sentinel recovered by Iran was flying for the CIA when it was apprehended.

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.” Now Tehran says that they were able to successfully reverse-engineer the craft by using less powerful drones that it has downed in the years prior. To the CSM, officials overseas say that the weaknesses in the GPS navigation of the craft were known by US officials, who did little to fix the patch.

Despite both losses in recent days, US Defense Department Secretary Leon Panetta said to Fox News this week that America will “absolutely” continue stealth jets missions over Iran.

Iranian authorities have hailed the recovery as a great success for the country since announcing that they had obtained the craft, much to the chagrin of the Obama administration. The US president has formally asked Tehran to return the craft to authorities, to which Iran shrugged off.