Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Former Air Force Intel Agent Indicted for Sharing Secrets with Iran

Former Air Force Intel Agent Indicted for Sharing Secrets with Iran

The Justice Department also accused Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, of betraying former colleagues in the us intelligence community by feeding details about their personal and professional lives to Iran.

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

All the five suspects named in the indictment are still at large, believed to be located in Iran.

US officials said Monica Witt, who worked for years in US Air Force counterintelligence, had an "ideological" turn against her country and defected in 2013, turning over information on US intelligence operations against Tehran.

The indictment says the four Iranians were acting on behalf of the government-linked Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The FBI said Wednesday that it's possible Witt remains a threat, and her former colleagues have been apprised of the charges against her. American officials say the conferences, which promote Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories, serve as a platform for Iran to recruit and collect intelligence.

While in Iran, she also allegedly converted to Islam during a television segment after identifying herself as a USA veteran, and delivered several broadcasts in which she criticised the US.

While working with a dual Iranian-US citizen, who was only identified in court papers as Individual A, Witt divulged "the existence of a highly classified intelligence collection program" and risked the life of an intelligence colleague by revealing his true identity, said John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security. Witt replied with a smiley emoticon, "LOL thank the sec of defense?"

"She chose not to heed our warning that travel to Iran could potentially make her susceptible to recruitment", Tabb said. "But every great while, one of these trusted people fails us". "Thanks for giving me the opportunity".

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. Federal Bureau of Investigation officials said Wednesday they believe Witt's motives were ideological. She returned to Iran in 2013 and was provided housing and computer equipment by Iranian officials. Witt is also alleged to have disclosed the code name and classified mission of a U.S. Department of Defense Special Access Program.

She also conducted online research, including on Facebook, to create information "packages" on her former colleagues in the USA intelligence community.

Iranian hackers then used that information to target those individuals with cyberattacks, the Justice Department said. Authorities said Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar sought to install malware in the computers of Witt's former co-workers through fake social media accounts. -Israeli computer sabotage weapon Stuxnet, for example, and Iran has been blamed for a number of cyberattacks against the USA and its allies, including Saudi Arabia.

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