New York Times: Fakhrizadeh’s removal operation carried out with Artificial Intelligence

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The New York Times published for the first time details of Mossad’s operation to oust Fakhrizadeh, showing that the automatic weapons and remote control used in the operation had been upgraded with artificial intelligence technology, and that officials in President Trump’s administration were informed during the operation.

The New York Times reports that officials in President Trump’s administration have been informed of the operation, including former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former CIA Director Gina Haspel. Following President Trump’s departure from the BJP in late February 2019, Cohen presented a list of potential operations to the United States, including the physical removal of Fakhrizadeh. Mossad has been monitoring Fakhrizadeh since 2007.

The New York Times writes: “Iranian agents working for the Mossad parked a blue Nissan pickup truck on the side of the road that connected Absard to the main highway.  The point was a slight elevation with a view of approaching vehicles. Hidden Under tarpaulins and decoy construction materials to camouflage the van, in the truck bed was a 7.62 mm sniper machine gun.  At around 1 p.m., the task force received a signal that Fakhrizadeh, his wife, and a group of his armed bodyguards were about to leave Absard in the cars that escorted him.  The operator, who was a skilled sniper, positioned himself, prepared the gun, and gently touched the trigger.  He was by no means near Absard, however. The sniper was peering at a computer screen in an undisclosed location thousands of miles away. The entire task force had already left Iran by then.”

The report states: “In this operation, advanced computer sniper technology with artificial intelligence and multi-camera observation via satellite was used for the first time, whose weapon was capable of firing 600 bullets per minute.” Unlike drones, this robotic weapon did not attract any attention in the sky.”

The New York Times went on to give more details about the automatic weapon and wrote: “Israel chose a special model of a Belgian-made FN MAG machine gun attached to an advanced robotic apparatus, according to an intelligence official familiar with the plot. The official said the system was not unlike the off-the-rack Sentinel 20 manufactured by the Spanish defense contractor Escribano.

But the machine gun, the robot, its components and accessories together weigh about a ton. So the equipment was broken down into its smallest possible parts and smuggled into the country piece by piece, in various ways, routes and times, then secretly reassembled in Iran.”

The report added: “The robot was built to fit in the bed of a Zamyad pickup, a common model in Iran. Cameras pointing in multiple directions were mounted on the truck to give the command room a full picture not just of the target and his security detail, but of the surrounding environment. Finally, the truck was packed with explosives so it could be blown to bits after the kill, destroying all evidence. There were further complications in firing the weapon. A machine gun mounted on a truck, even a parked one, will shake after each shot’s recoil, changing the trajectory of subsequent bullets.”

 

The New York Times continues: “Also, even though the computer communicated with the control room via satellite, sending data at the speed of light, there would be a slight delay: What the operator saw on the screen was already a moment old, and adjusting the aim to compensate would take another moment, 

all while Mr. Fakhrizadeh’s car was in motion.

The time it took for the camera images to reach the sniper and for the sniper’s response to reach the machine gun, not including his reaction time, was estimated to be 1.6 seconds, enough of a lag for the best-aimed shot to go astray. The A.I. was programmed to compensate for the delay, the shake and the car’s speed.”

The New York Times also wrote: “Another challenge was to determine in real time that it was Mr. Fakhrizadeh driving the car and not one of his children, his wife or a bodyguard.” The report continued: “The solution was to station a fake disabled car, resting on a jack with a wheel missing, at a junction on the main road where vehicles heading for Absard had to make a U-turn, some three quarters of a mile from the kill zone. That vehicle contained another camera. The blue Zamyad pickup was parked next to Imam Khomeini Boulevard. Investigators later found that security cameras on the road had been disabled.”

In another part of its report, the New York Times refers to the final part of the operation by providing other details of the operation that is related to the removal of Fakhrizadeh and writes: “The blue Zamyad exploded.

That was the only part of the operation that did not go as planned. The explosion was intended to rip the robot to shreds so the Iranians could not piece together what had happened. Instead, most of the equipment was hurled into the air and then fell to the ground, damaged beyond repair but largely intact. The Revolutionary Guards’ assessment — that the attack was carried out by a remote-controlled machine gun “equipped with an intelligent satellite system” using artificial intelligence — was correct.”

 

 

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