The Iranian government claims to have pulled secret information out of an American spy drone that crashed back in December, and plan on reverse-engineering the craft to build their own copy, according to the BBC.
Military Aerospace chief Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh told the Iranian press on Sunday that military scientists had hacked computers aboard the RQ-170 Sentinel and extracted secret data, including information on past missions spying on Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan weeks before his assassination.
According to the New York Times, Hajizadeh also suggested that Iran would began reverse-engineering the drone to create their own copy, a claim that American experts have dismissed.
"It's hard for me to imagine no self-destruct or erase mechanism was embedded in the drone to destroy sensitive systems, including software," said Dennis M. Gormley, a drone expert from the University of Pittsburgh. "As someone who does monitor Iranian aerospace and missile claims closely, let me simply observe that they are preternaturally disposed to exaggeration."
The White House and American Intelligence officials would not comment on the claims Sunday, but some US officials offered skepticism at Iran's claims.
"I think there is a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly now when they are on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman on Fox News Sunday. "I don't have confidence at this point that they are really able to make a copy of it. It's a very sophisticated piece of machinery and has served our national security well."