A Navy report released Thursday blames “failed leadership at multiple levels from the tactical to the operational” for the capture of 10 American sailors by Iranians in January.
After one of their boats veered off course into Iranian waters, the 10 sailors were detained, seen crying and apologizing in video footage, and released the same day, in what became an embarrassing international incident for the U.S.
CNN writes that the Navy report exposes a “lax culture for U.S. Navy sailors who routinely patrol the Persian Gulf.” Navy investigators “found the crews were poorly prepared, their boats not properly maintained, communication almost entirely lacking, and their conduct after being captured by the Iranians wasn’t up to military standards.”
Regardless of the errors, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, said that the sailors were not guilty of violating international law, but the Iranians were. He said in a press conference:
The investigation concluded that Iran violated international law by impeding the boats’ innocent passage transit, and they violated our sovereign immunity by boarding, searching, and seizing the boats, and by photographing and video recording the crew.
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