Sailors Captured by Iran Made Serious Mistakes at Every Level, Navy Investigators Say
Ten sailors captured by Iran were derelict in their duties, badly trained and made a series of mistakes throughout their mission — including giving out sensitive information — a scathing U.S. Navy report says.
“This incident was the result of failed leadership at multiple levels from the tactical to the operational,” investigators wrote in the report issued Thursday.
The report said sailors failed to properly maintain their vessels, were poorly prepared for their mission and their conduct after being captured did not meet military standards.
The service members veered off course as soon as they set off and were lost when one of the boats broke down, the investigation found.
The sailors, on two boats, were supposed to make a 300-mile journey from Kuwait to Bahrain, home of the Navy’s 5th Fleet on Jan. 12. Instead, they strayed into Iranian waters while trying to take a shortcut and were captured at gunpoint.
Iranian officials posted embarrassing video of the crews’ arrest that showed them kneeling with their hands behind their head. The incident sparked an international controversy on the night President Obama delivered his last State of the Union address to Congress.
The sailors were not up to their mission, the report said, and failed to notify their superiors when one of the vessels experienced mechanical failure.
“Crew members lacked navigational awareness, proper communication with higher authority, and appreciation of the threat environment throughout the transit,” the investigation determined.
The report, portions of which were redacted, said crew members violated the military’s code of conduct while they were detained by making statements “adverse to U.S. interests.” Navy personnel gave away too much information, including passwords to phones and laptops and they also allowed themselves to be videotaped while eating, the report said, which was used as propaganda, Reuters reported.
A lieutenant apologized on video, something the report also found fault with.
The report also concluded that Iran violated international law by boarding the boats, examining their weaponry and taking the sailors as prisoners.
Of the Navy personnel involved, two have faced administrative action and six others have been recommended for similar reprimands.