Ex-Air Force Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Giving Secrets To Iran

14 February, 2019, 08:40 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • The U.S. government accused Monica Witt 39 of revealing highly-classified information to Tehran.             
    FBI

The Justice Department says the Iranian government supplied her with housing and computer equipment so she could "disclose USA classified information" and conduct research on "personnel that she had known and worked with" during her time in the American intelligence community.

Witt was an intelligence specialist and special agent in the Air Force until 2008, when she separated from the branch and began working with the Department of Defense as a contractor - a job that lasted until 2010.

Monica Elfriede Witt, pictured in a 2013 photo released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The U.S. Justice Department has indicted a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer for aiding Iran in what Washington says was a cyberespionage operation targeting U.S. intelligence officers.

US authorities have not yet arrested Witt, who remains at large in Iran, but a warrant has been issued. The poster identified Witt as an English teacher, whose friends believed she was missing somewhere in Afghanistan or Tajikistan. She is believed to be in Iran, officials said. According to authorities, Witt collaborated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military unit charged with exerting Tehran's influence around the world. At that point, she made contact with an Iranian agent who helped her settle in Iran.

The efforts included software to capture keystrokes and break into web cameras, as well as malware-infused attachments passed off as pornographic photos created to fool USA officials into letting Iranian hackers tunnel into their computer networks.

The indictments were dated February 8, but were unveiled Wednesday, on the opening day of a US-led conference in Warsaw, Poland aimed at boosting worldwide pressure on Tehran. That year she travelled to Iran to attend an anti-America conference sponsored by the Revolutionary Guard-related New Horizon Organization. She also gave Iranians the code name and classified mission of a special U.S. Department of Defense operation.

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As part of its action, the United States sanctioned two Iran-based firms - New Horizon Organization and Net Peygard Samavat Company - and several individuals associated with the two groups.

The indictment suggested that Iran had reached out to her at least as far back as 2012.

After finishing her career with the Air Force, Witt worked as a government contractor for two years.

Witt is charged with two counts of delivering military information to a foreign government and one count of conspiracy. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.??

According to the indictment, she had access to secret and top secret national defence information, including the names of intelligence sources and clandestine agents, and had been deployed between 1999 and 2003 overseas to collect electronic intelligence.

"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. "I am starting to get frustrated at the level of Iranian suspicion".

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