A US Air Force officer has defected to Iran and shared classified information with the evil regime which could cause “serious damage” to American security, officials said.
Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, a counterintelligence specialist, has been charged with espionage after she shared details of a secret Pentagon mission with Tehran, prosecutors said today.
US counter intelligence specialist Monica Elfriede Witt has defected to Iran[/caption]
The Justice Department also accused Witt of betraying former colleagues in the US intelligence community by feeding details about their personal and professional lives to Iran.
Four hackers linked to the Iranian government, charged in the same indictment, used that information to target the intel workers online, prosecutors said.
Witt had been on the FBI’s radar at least a year before she defected after she attended an Iranian conference and appeared in anti-American videos.
The American was warned about her activities, but reassured agents that she would not provide sensitive information about her work if she returned to Iran.
She was not arrested.
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FBI executive assistant director Jay Tabb said: “Once a holder of a top secret security clearance, Monica Witt actively sought opportunities to undermine the United States and support the government of Iran a country which poses a serious threat to our national security.”
Tabb said “she provided information that could cause serious damage to national security,” though he did not provide specifics.
Witt remains at large in Iran, as do the four hackers, who prosecutors say were acting on behalf of the government-linked Iranian Revolutionary Guard, prosecutors said.
That group has been designated by the US government as promoting terrorism.
The American has been charged with espionage after she shared details of a secret mission with the Iranian regime[/caption]
She is accused of feeding details about colleagues’ personal and professional lives to the Iranian regime[/caption]
The hackers, using imposter Facebook personas, then targeted those same officials and were even able at one point to join a private online group composed primarily of retired government workers, the indictment says.
The hackers sent the targets messages and emails that purported to be legitimate but instead contained malicious software that, if opened, would have given them access to the officials’ computer and network.
Texas native Witt served in the Air Force between 1997 and 2008, where she was trained in Farsi the predominant language of Iran and was deployed overseas on classified counterintelligence missions, including to the Middle East.
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She then found work as a Defence Department contractor.
Witt defected to Iran in 2013 after being invited to two all-expense-paid conferences in the country that the Justice Department says promoted anti-Western propaganda and condemned American moral standards.
She was a Defense Department contractor at the time.
American officials say the conferences, which promote Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories, serve as a platform for Iran to recruit and collect intelligence.
Witt, who remains at large in Iran, has taken part in anti-American propaganda videos for the Tehran regime[/caption]
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