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

13 February 2019, 10:55 | Devin Moran

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

Monica Witt 39 a former U.S. Air Force officer indicted for aiding Iran is seen in this FBI

Four Iranian citizens have also been charged with attempting to install spy software on computers belonging to Ms Witt's colleagues.

A few days later, Witt wrote to the same person, "I think I can slip into Russian Federation quietly if they help me and then I can contact wikileaks from there without disclosing my location".

Monica Witt, 39, a former U.S. Air Force officer, indicted for aiding Iran, is seen in this Federal Bureau of Investigation photo released in Washington, DC, U.S., February 13, 2019.

The US Treasury Department also announced sanctions against an Iranian company accused of organizing conferences that served as a platform to recruit Witt, and against another Iranian company suspected of having participated in the cyberattacks.

"Monica Witt is charged with revealing to the Iranian regime a highly classified intelligence program and the identity of a U.S. Intelligence Officer, all in violation of the law, her solemn oath to protect and defend our country, and the bounds of human decency", assistant attorney general John Demers wrote in statement Wednesday. The shady packages helped the Iranian government to identify, track and neutralize United States counterintelligence agents, Demers said.

During her government career, she was granted high-level security clearances and "deployed overseas to conduct classified counterintelligence missions", the DOJ said.

Jay Tabb, the FBI's executive assistant director for national security, said investigators believe Witt shared information that "could cause serious damage to national security", though he declined to provide specific details of the operations she allegedly disclosed. From there, her task was to use social media to search for other American counterintelligence officials, and produce "target packages" on them for Iran. "Thanks for giving me the opportunity".




Now the Treasury claims the conferences were also an intelligence gathering and recruiting ground for Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The next year, she went to another Iranian conference and soon arranged to defect, according to the indictment.

The conferences often included an "anti-Western" sentiment and "propagate anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories including Holocaust denial".

According to charges unsealed on Wednesday by the justice department on Wednesday she defected to Iran in August 2013, taking with her details of USA counter-intelligence agents she had worked with, who were then targeted by Iranian hackers, four of whom are named in the indictment and charged alongside Witt. Different Iranian organizations attempted numerous approaches to gain access to their computers.

Witt first traveled to a "Hollywoodism" conference in 2012, when she appeared in Iranian television videos in which she identified herself as a former USA service member with. The indictment accuses her of assisting "Iranian intelligence services in targeting her former fellow agents in the U.S. Intelligence Community".

The Justice Department has issued arrest warrants for Witt and the four Iranians, who all remain at large.

What's the state of US-Iran relations?



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