American military officials revealed yesterday that two Iranian fighter jets intercepted a Predator surveillance drone over international water, and even tried to shoot it down. The Pentagon insists that the spy plane was unarmed and never entered Iranian airspace, but was within four miles of the coastline buffer that would belong to Iran's air force. Two Iranian aircraft reportedly fired on the drone with machine guns, but it did not hit it and then let it return to base.
The Pentagon claims this was the first time that the Iranians had engaged one of their surveillance drones, though an unmanned drone controlled by the CIA did crash onto Iranian soil last year.
There are some complaints from conservatives about the timing of the news, as the incident actually happened on November 1, but was not revealed to the public until after Tuesday's election. The Pentagon says the Secretary of Defense and the White House were informed about the incident almost immediately, but would not give details about any possible internal discussion about it because the mission the drone was on is classified. They say the election played no role in the timing of the announcement.