Ex-US intelligence officer charged in Iran espionage case

Former Air Force intelligence officer charged with defecting to Iran and conspiring to share top-secret information

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.

The United States on Wednesday indicted former US air force officer Monica Witt for aiding Iran in what Washington characterized as a cyberspying operation targeting American intelligence officers. She's charged with providing Iranian intelligence with classified information and with helping to compile background research on U.S. intelligence agents to facilitate online attacks against them.

She returned to Iran the next year and began disclosing classified information to Iranian officials, including on her former colleagues in the U.S. intelligence community.

"Ms Witt was recruited by Iran as part of a program that targets former intelligence officers and others who have held security clearances".

According to the Department of Justice, Witt is charged with conspiracy to deliver and delivering national defense information to representatives of the Iranian government.

"It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country".

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement that this was "all in violation of the law, [Witt's] solemn oath to protect and defend our country, and the bounds of human decency". The Justice Department said the information threatened other agents in the US intelligence community, a federation of 16 agencies.

Witt, who is from Texas, entered duty with the U.S. Air Force in 1997 and worked as an Air Force Intelligence Specialist and Special Agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.




Witt appears to have turned against the United States some time before February 2012, the indictment alleges, when she travelled to Iran to attend a New Horizon conference that featured anti-U.S. propaganda.

After finishing her career with the Air Force, Witt worked as a government contractor for two years. Four Iranian agents were also charged for targeting U.S. intelligence personnel through information Witt provided.

They are said to be charged with using malware, phishing attacks and false identities, including one called Bella Wood on Facebook, who successfully friended one of the U.S. agents while they were deployed as a military intelligence officer in Kabul. In one such instance, the Cyber Conspirators created a Facebook account that purported to belong to a USIC employee and former colleague of Witt, and which utilized legitimate information and photos from the USIC employee's actual Facebook account.

In conjunction with the indictments, the US Treasury Department has announced sanctions again two organizations - New Horizon Organization and Net Peygard Samavat Company - and nine affiliated individuals for supporting spying operations against US intelligence personnel.

After she was permitted to emigrate to Iran she told her contact that she was "signing off and heading out", adding, "Coming home". For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavouring 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. The four men were identified as Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar.

However, one agent who friended the fake account added the hackers to a Facebook group filled with U.S. government agents, allowing them to gather more information, according to the indictment.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Black leopard spotted in Africa for the first time in 100 years
Feb 14, 2019 - 08:14
Will Burrard-Lucas posted photos of his incredible images online after his adventure in Africa . Pilford said most recorded sightings of black leopards have been spotted in Asian forests.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Upcoming US-China trade talk to focus on intellectual property rights
Feb 14, 2019 - 07:17
However, strident White House China critic Peter Navarro was not listed as part of the U.S. team. And so far, I've said don't do that.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top BBC asks for security review after cameraman allegedly attacked at Trump rally
Feb 13, 2019 - 07:43
Her statement followed a call by White House Correspondents' Association Chairman Olivier Knox for the president to apologize. Trump, in turn, has often supported and joked about violence against reporters and the media, going so far as to praise Rep.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top EA wants to bring Apex Legend to Android and iOS
Feb 13, 2019 - 07:16
Peak viewership numbers tell a similar story, with Apex Legends securing 491,894 viewers and Fortnite landing at 326,454. During its first three days, Apex Legends drew in 10 million players , 2.5 million of which were during the first day.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Air NZ plane lands in Shanghai after being rejected over weekend
Feb 13, 2019 - 07:14
China refuses to have diplomatic ties with governments that recognise Taiwan and has been cracking down on airlines that do so. Scheduling clashes happen - we all have to postpone sometimes.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top S. Korea announces hike in payment for USA troops
Feb 13, 2019 - 06:31
Malpass also appealed for South Korea's backing for his becoming the next president of the Washington-based lending institution. Trump is set to have a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on February 27-28 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Watch Cardi B Perform "Money" At The 2019 Grammy Awards
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:51
The little one had already mastered calling Offset "papa" so hearing her name was a huge moment for her 7-month-old baby. Cardi B is reflecting on all the work that went into making Invasion of Privacy - her Grammy Award-winning album.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Thomas Markle Shared a Personal Letter From Meghan Markle
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:49
We feel so lucky that someone's come into her life who takes care of her the way she takes care of all of us. She charges around 2,000 pounds an hour for interviews to tabloids. "This you know.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Azpilicueta cant find words to describe Chelsea's embarrassment at Man City
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:49
Maurizio Sarri is thought to be on the brink following Chelsea's 6-0 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium . After losing 2-0 to City in the Community Shield, Chelsea went unbeaten in 18 games.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top RUMOR: Cardinals Have Already Informed Kyler Murray They'll Take Him #1 Overall
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:46
According to ESPN , Murray will have to return $1.29m of his $1.5m signing bonus and will not receive the remaining $3.16m. First, they had already prepared a locker for him at spring training - no doubt on the hope that he'd be showing up there.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Katy Perry is next in line to offend with "blackface" shoes
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:45
Pop star Katy Perry is pulling shoes from her fashion collection after the designs were called out for resembling blackface. Blackface is a centuries-old practice rooted in depicting a negative stereotype of black people in Europe and the US.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Newborn baby pulled from storm drain in South Africa
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:45
Others have also been saying that the mother of the baby should not be judged because no one knows her circumstances . The baby was washed six metres down the storm water drain.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kylie Jenner throws epic 'Stormiworld' party for daughter's first birthday
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:44
Listen to episode 12 of The Gossccast where we chat to Jenny Dixon about following her Hollywood dream and her Fair City journey . That's right, guests at the party were able to enter through the mouth of the inflatable head.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top PSG's Team Against Manchester United In The Champions League Leaked
Feb 12, 2019 - 19:44
Sometimes we managed to stop him, we have managed to stop him on a few occasions. The Brazilian worldwide is expected to return in April.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Meets With Kim Jong-un at February End
Feb 11, 2019 - 12:33
Chung will also communicate with Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, though the format remains unspecified. A meeting with the US President has been a top foreign policy goal of Pyongyang since Kim Jong Il invited Bill Clinton.