U.S. says ex-intel official defected to Iran, revealed secrets

WASHINGTON — A former U.S. Air Drive counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran regardless of warnings from the FBI has been charged with revealing categorised info to the Tehran government, including the code identify and secret mission of a Pentagon program, prosecutors stated Wednesday.

This image provided by the FBI ...
FBI by way of AP

This image offered by the FBI exhibits part of the needed poster for Monica Elfriede Witt.

The Justice Division additionally accused Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, of betraying former colleagues in the U.S. intelligence group by feeding particulars about their personal and professional lives to Iran. Four hackers linked to the Iranian government, charged in the identical indictment, used that info to focus on the intelligence staff on-line, prosecutors stated.

Witt had been on the FBI’s radar no less than a yr before she defected after she attended an Iranian conference and appeared in anti-American videos. She was warned about her activities, but informed brokers that she would not provide sensitive details about her work if she returned to Iran, prosecutors say. She was not arrested on the time.

“As soon as a holder of a prime secret security clearance, Monica Witt actively sought alternatives to undermine america and help the government of Iran — a rustic which poses a critical menace to our nationwide safety,” stated FBI government assistant director Jay Tabb, the bureau’s prime national safety official.

Tabb stated “she offered info that would trigger critical injury to national safety,” though he did not present specifics.

Witt stays at giant in Iran, as do the four hackers, who prosecutors say have been appearing on behalf of the nation’s powerful, government-linked Revolutionary Guard. That group, a branch of Iran’s armed forces, has beforehand been designated by the U.S. authorities as a terrorism supporter.

The indictment was unsealed the identical week as Iran celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its Islamic Revolution and as the nation denounced a Middle East safety convention in Warsaw co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland. Officers stated the indictment’s timing was unconnected to the assembly.

Witt served within the Air Drive between 1997 and 2008, the place she was educated within the Farsi language and was deployed overseas on categorised counterintelligence missions, together with to the Middle East. She later found work as a Defense Division contractor. The Texas native defected to Iran in 2013 after being invited to 2 all-expense-paid conferences in the country that the Justice Division says promoted anti-Western propaganda and condemned American ethical standards.

The Treasury Division on Wednesday sanctioned the New Horizon Organization, which organized the conferences Witt attended and hosts occasions that American officials say promote Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories and in addition function a platform to recruit and gather intelligence from attendees.

Witt first traveled to a “Hollywoodism” convention in 2012, when she appeared in…

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