The United States on Wednesday indicted a former US Air Force officer Monica Witt for aiding Iran in what Washington characterized as a cyber-spying operation targeting US intelligence officers.
This 2013 photo released by the Department of Justice shows Monica Elfriede Witt.
Witt is also accused in the Washington, DC, indictment of conducting research about her intelligence colleagues and using that data to draft "target packages" against them.
"Our intelligence professionals swear an oath to protect our country, and we trust them to uphold their oath", said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who leads the Justice Department's National Security Division. Shortly after joining the military, Witt studied Farsi at the U.S. Defense Language Institute in California before deploying overseas for four years to conduct classified missions collecting signals intelligence.
Her actions are "a betrayal of our nation's security, our military and the American people", Phillips said during a press call with reporters.
When warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that trip that Iranian intelligence services were trying to recruit her, Witt allegedly promised that she would not talk about her counterintelligence work if she returned to Iran. Her work for the government ended in 2010.
"She chose to turn against the United States and shift her loyalty to Iran", said Jay Tabb, the FBI's executive assistant director for national security. That event, which court papers say is sponsored by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, promotes an anti-American viewpoint.
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 said, and disclosed the classified identity of at least one of those agents, according to the charges.
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She defected to Iran in 2013 and presumably still lives there, US officials said.
That summer, a dual U.S. The next year, she went to another Iranian conference and soon arranged to defect, according to the indictment. Prosecutors say that Individual A worked as a spotter and assessor for Iranian intelligence.
Ms Witt is accused of sharing USA government secrets, including the name of agents and specifics of operations, with Iran as early as January 2012.
The indictment suggested that Iran had reached out to her at least as far back as 2012.
She eventually did, with help from Individual A, in August 2013.
Jay Tabb, the FBI's executive assistant director for national security, said Witt was ideologically driven.
Once in Tehran, Iranian authorities provided her with housing and computer equipment, the indictment alleges, and she began work on behalf of Iran.
Prosecutors said Witt, who left the Air Force in 2008 and later became a Defense Department contractor, disclosed to Iran the code name and classified mission of a Pentagon special access program. That's a reference to Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked classified USA information.
Iranian nationals Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar were charged with computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft.
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