Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said on Sunday that he may subpoena the 10 U.S. sailors held prisoner by Iran in January to testify about the incident.
“It’s an option that I do not want to exercise,” said McCain, as reported by Reuters.
McCain accused Obama Administration officials of “dragging their feet” on their investigation into the incident.
“I guarantee you, if they don’t have a debrief by the first of March like they said, we’ll have a hearing and we’ll subpoena. We’re not going to wait any longer. We will subpoena the individuals if we have to,” the Senator told reporters during his trip home from an international security conference in Germany. He said he had discussed the case with Secretary of State John Kerry while both were in Munich.
Reuters writes that McCain has “accused” Iran of exploiting the sailors’ capture for propaganda purposes. Iran has defied the Geneva Conventions by exploiting the distress of the sailors in propaganda videos, and the streets of Tehran were filled with re-enactments of the capture during last week’s Revolution Day celebration.
It is rather difficult to understand why the investigation of an incident that lasted only a couple of days would require over a month to complete, with no end in sight.
The last word from Administration officials on the matter was reported three days ago, when CNN quoted a source who said the sailors were subjected to “steady questioning” by their captors, possibly explaining why they told counselors they were “anxious and upset” after their release. It is easy to see why the Administration would want to keep such details under wraps while it was busy thanking the Iranians for their supposedly courteous treatment of the prisoners.
Another disturbing possibility raised by CNN’s weekend report is that Iran, or perhaps some other unfriendly power in the region, might have lured the Americans into Iranian territorial waters by “spoofing” their navigational equipment with a signals attack. A U.S. official said the Navy has “anecdotal evidence” of spoofing attacks against GPS systems in other areas.