Iranian TV: Captured US Hikers Are CIA Spies

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2009 1:01 PM CDT
Map locates Halabja, Iraq, where US tourists last reported hiking.
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(Newser) – The three American hikers nabbed by Iranian authorities after allegedly crossing the border from Iraq were actually spies, an Iranian TV report claims. The Tehran-based station quotes an Iraqi policeman as saying the three were “working with the CIA.” Hillary Clinton meanwhile asked the Iranian government today for more information on the hikers, asking that they “return them as quickly as possible.”

“Obviously we are concerned,” she said. “As of a few hours ago, we did not yet have official confirmation that” the Americans were in custody. According to ABC News, the detainees include two writers and an environmental worker. Another American who fatefully skipped the hike when he fell ill with a cold, is a fluent Arabic speaker pursuing a PhD in linguistics. The area where the three were hiking is said to be a popular destination—their abandoned gear was found near a picturesque waterfall.