Iranian military leaders disclosed on Thursday that their intelligence operatives had infiltrated a U.S. Army Command Center and commandeered control of several American drones flying through Syria and Iraq.
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force, released information and photographic evidence that Iran claims as proof it was able to take control of several U.S. drones.
This would not be the first time Iran commandeered such sensitive technology. Tehran assumed control of a downed U.S. drone several years ago and claimed that it had siphoned both information and technical data.
"Seven to eight drones that had constant flights over Syria and Iraq were brought under our control and their intel was monitored by us and we could gain their first-hand intel," General Hajizadeh was quoted as saying on Thursday in remarks carried in the country's state-controlled press.
Along with these comments the IRGC released footage to the Fars News Agency and other Iranian outlets that military leaders say confirms the operation.
"The footage below shows IRGC's penetration into US Army's Command Center, one of the many proofs in support of General Hajizadeh's remarks," Fars reported. "The footage shows a U.S. flying drone starts malfunctioning and makes a rough landing in a desert area 10 kilometers away from its base."
"The footage that displays the IRGC's penetration into the U.S. spy drone's intel has been recorded by an IRGC drone flying above the scene," the report claims.
U.S. military officials did not respond to Washington Free Beacon requests for comment on the matter.
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser who closely tracks regional terror groups, told the Free Beacon that there is merit to Iran's claims.
"Iran knows it can't compete with the United States head on and so for decades it has embraced asymmetric warfare," Rubin said. "Terrorism is the major component of this, but increasingly cyber-espionage and hacking are pillars of Iranian strategy, While the Iranian media regularly exaggerates, there may be some truth to this story."
Additionally, "Iran has deployed forces into Syria and Iraq not only to beat opponents on the ground, but also to test its technology in real-world conditions," Rubin said. "Just as the U.S. and Soviet Union once used proxy battles over Syria to test each other's equipment and capabilities, Tehran today looks at Syria as a laboratory for its own military capabilities."
"If the Iranian story is true, there's a real danger: Not only because Iran regularly shares its technology with terrorists, but also because there is not a capability Iran has which Russia and China don't share," he said.