On Thursday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the sailors "obviously had misnavigated." At the same time, mechanical failure was ruled out as a reason for the incident. This means that the boats were not in distress when they sailed near Farsi Island, which houses a naval base of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps. This also means that Iran was within its right when it detained the soldiers.
"What we know for certain is that the storyline of 'mechanical failure' and 'poor US boat in distress' that was originally propagated … was complete fiction," Greenwald observed. But the new version does not necessarily reflect what really happened.
"Beyond that, 'misnavigating' within a few miles of an Iranian Guard Corps naval base is a striking coincidence," Greenwald noted.
Yet, many US media accounts of what transpired presented the incident as a hostile act committed by Iran.
"This unauthorized trespass into Iranian territorial waters was continuously depicted as an act of Iranian aggression (contrast that with how the US government suggested it would be in Turkey's rights not only to intercept but to shoot down any Russian jet that even briefly traverses its airspace)," the journalist pointed out.
One could only imagine front page headlines if the US and Iran switched places and those were Iranian boats that had inadvertently drifted into US territorial waters.
If 2 Iranian boats entered US waters off the East Coast w/no permission & US torpedoed them, would even one TV journalist object to that?— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) 15 января 2016