Former Air Force Intel Agent Indicted for Sharing Secrets with Iran

US Air Force officer who defected 'spied for Iran'

Prosecutors say Ms Witt had been granted the highest level of US security clearance and worked in the US Air Force from 1997 to 2008.

A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with providing classified information to the Islamic Republic, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of disclosing the code name and classified mission of a US military special access program to the Iranian government.

Witt learned Farsi at a USA military language school and allegedly traveled to Iran for an anti-American event that promoted "anti-U.S. propaganda", and returned again in 2013 when she was provided with housing and computer equipment to work on behalf of Iran.

Demers further explained, "Four Iranian cyber hackers are also charged with various computer crimes targeting members of the USA intelligence community who were Ms. Witt's former colleagues". Her work for the government ended in 2010.

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

Officials said Witt turned on the USA and shifted her loyalty to the Islamic Republic for "ideological reasons".

During that time, she was granted high-level security clearances, learned Farsi at a USA military language school, and was deployed overseas for counterintelligence missions in the Middle East.

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"She made a decision to turn against the United States and shift her loyalty to the government of Iran", Tabb said.

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.

Provided with housing and computer equipment by the Iranian government, Witt tracked down US counterintelligence agents she used to work with on Facebook, the indictment alleges, and disclosed the classified identity of at least one of those agents. That group has been designated by the USA government as promoting terrorism.

She attended the same conference the following year and was hired by an unnamed individual to assist in the filming of an anti-American propaganda commercial.

They declined to say to what extent these disclosures compromised US intelligence operations targeting Iran.

The Iranian hackers also used photos and information of another U.S. counterintelligence official to create a fake Facebook account for friending other agents. "I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil", she told that person in an email. That's a reference to Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked classified US information.

She successfully defected in August 2013, after providing a resume and "conversion narrative" to her contact.

"Espionage by past or present members of the intelligence community poses a significant threat to our country and a heightened danger to their former colleagues", he said.

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