Ex-Navy Commander Christopher Harmer told CNN Wednesday afternoon that he is “disappointed” that one of the United States Navy sailors captured by Iran Tuesday apologized to the Iranians for being in their space.
“I am really upset, really disappointed that the U.S. Navy sailors took it upon themselves to issue an apology,” Harmer told CNN host Brooke Baldwin. “But, whether they intended to or not, they are representing the United States Navy, and by that, an extension of the U.S. government.”
“So whether or not this sailor understood what he was saying, he’s now on the record, on video as apologizing on behalf of the U.S. government, for something he had no business speaking to,” Harmer added.
He went on to say that violations of airspace and water space are very common in this area of the world, and that Iran tends to aggressively inform the U.S. when they are nearing Iran’s space.
However, when asked by Baldwin what he would have done in these sailors’ boots, Harmer said he would have done what he was trained to do — only provide his name, rank, date of birth, and service ID number, and nothing more.
Addressing the controversial images that appeared Wednesday, which showed the soldiers on their knees with their hands behind their heads, Harmer said that position is typical protocol when apprehending and searching suspects.
In terms of “propaganda value,” however, Harmer said the images are “very valuable to Iran,” because it could show Iran’s allied countries and allied terrorist organizations that they have “the ability to take American soldiers into custody.”
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