Eh. They’re pitching this as a big scoop, but it sounds like the extent of the intelligence gathering was chatting up crewmen from the Iraqi ships they inspected. There’s no claim that they actually entered Iranian waters to spy; on the contrary, Sky says they were in Iraqi waters on the day they interviewed Capt. Chris Air. Nor can I believe any of this would come as a surprise to Iran, although if the fact of their intel activities had been made public it surely would have increased public pressure on them to try the sailors. Which is precisely why Sky embargoed it until now.

Nice to see a little mud sprayed back in Iran’s face after the hosing the Brits have been taking two weeks, though.

The captain in charge of the 15 marines detained in Iran has admitted they were gathering intelligence on the Iranians.

Sky News went on patrol with Captain Chris Air and his team in Iraqi waters close to the area where they were arrested – just five days before the crisis began.

We withheld the interview until now so it would not jeopardise their safety.

And today, former Iranian diplomat Dr Mehrdad Khonsari said if the Iranians had known about it, they would have used it to “justify taking the marines captive and put them on trial”.

According to the captain of the unit itself, as stated in an interview recorded five days before they were kidnapped…

Captain Air said that fishing dhows had been robbed by Iranian soldiers on a number of occasions.

Here’s the video; what we call “intel” they apparently call “int.” Click the image to watch.