We previously discussed how the government has kept 28 pages classified in the 9-11 Report to protect Saudi Arabia from a public backlash of its alleged involvement (or at least the involvement of Saudi officials) in the attacks. Now, a report on the treatment of U.S. sailors by Iran in seizure of Navy boats earlier this year will reportedly remain classified for some time. That is rather curious since Iran already knows how it treated the sailors. Again, there is a suspicion that the Administration simply does not want the public to know the full details of the mistreatment, which Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, says are far worse than has been made public. Recently, the Navy fired the commander in the incident.
The 10 sailors were captured and their high-speed special boats were seized when they drifted into Iranian waters around Farsi Island. They were held for 16 hours and the Iranians used videotapes of sailors apologizing and crying for propaganda purposes.
Now, Forbes (who was given a classified briefing) alleges that the Administration is keeping details of the incident classified for a year or longer. He stated “I think that when the details actually come out, most Americans are going to be kind of taken aback by the entire incident, both how Iran handled it and how we handled it.”
I fail to see why the description of the treatment cannot be released immediately. I can understand the need to review and potentially classify the conditions leading to the seizure. There are issues of communications and diplomatic exchanges are likely sensitive. However, the full details of the treatment of the sailors after they were taken into custody is obviously known to Iran . . . it is simply not known to the American people.