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United States charges former air force intel agent with spying for Iran

14 February, 2019, 04:54 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • The U.S. government accused Monica Witt 39 of revealing highly-classified information to Tehran.             
    FBI

The former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran despite warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been charged with revealing classified information to the Tehran government, including the code name and secret mission of a Pentagon program, prosecutors said Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. "Following her defection to Iran in 2013, she is alleged to have revealed to the Iranian government the existence of a highly classified intelligence collection program and the true identity of a U.S. intelligence officer, thereby risking the life of this individual".

The indictment also charges four Iranians with conspiracy, attempts to commit computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft as part of an effort in 2014 and 2015 to target Witt's former colleagues and co-workers in the USA intelligence community. She continued to serve as an intelligence officer until 2010.

Billing itself as an "anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist" think tank, New Horizon organized conferences in Iran that cast a critical eye on U.S. and Israeli policy worldwide and stoked accusations of anti-Semitism from Western critics.

"She chose not to heed our warning that travel to Iran could potentially make her susceptible to recruitment", Tabb said.

She also created packages for Iranian intelligence officers to target confidential U.S. officials working within the country.

A grand jury indicted 39-year-old Monica Witt, who authorities believe collaborated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, revealed state secrets and endangered members of the intelligence community, CBS News reported. She possessed high-level security clearances and conducted several classified counterintelligence missions overseas.

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Four Iranians said to have been involved in the cyber-attacks were also charged along with two Iran-based businesses, New Horizon Organization and Net Peygard Samavat Company. The next year, she went to another Iranian conference and soon arranged to defect, according to the indictment.

Around the same time, Witt appeared in at least one Iranian video in which she criticized the USA government.

The DOJ claims Witt has been working ever since with IRGC hacking units to craft and fine-tune cyber-operations against her former Air Force colleagues, some of whom she knew personally.

She was warned about her activities, but reassured agents that she would not provide sensitive information about her work if she returned to Iran. -Iranian citizen who is identified as "Individual A" in the indictment hired Witt to be her assistant on an anti-American propaganda film. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.?? That's a reference to Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked classified US information.

Authorities said Ms. Witt's activities caused "serious damage" to US intelligence activities.

In the few weeks before her defection, Witt is alleged to have conducted searches on Facebook for the names of former fellow counter-intelligence agents, and the spouse of one of them.

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