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Washington Accuses Ex-Intel Agent of Spying for Iran

Washington Accuses Ex-Intel Agent of Spying for Iran

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019 - 19:30
FBI poster of Monica Elfriede Witt. (FBI)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A former US Air Force counterintelligence specialist has been charged with spying for Iran.

The Justice Department said Wednesday that Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, who defected to Iran, has been charged with revealing classified information to the Tehran government, including the code name and secret mission of a Pentagon program.

She defected in 2013 after attending a conference in Iran aimed at "condemning American moral standards."

She is currently at-large, along with four Iranian hackers who, prosecutors say, used the information she provided to target her former colleagues in the US intelligence community.

The four Iranians were acting on behalf of the government-linked Iranian Revolutionary Guard, prosecutors said. They also remain at large; arrest warrants have been issued for them.

Witt served in the US Air Force from 1997 to 2008, becoming a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, its counterintelligence unit.

After leaving the Air Force, she worked as a defense and intelligence contractor, but by 2012 her politics had begun to turn.

That year she travelled to Iran to attend an anti-America conference sponsored by the Revolutionary Guard-related New Horizon Organization.

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

"It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country," said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, announcing the indictment.

"This case underscores the dangers to our intelligence professionals and the lengths our adversaries will go to identify them, expose them, target them, and, in a few rare cases, ultimately turn them against the nation they swore to protect," he said.

She revealed to the Iranians a "highly classified intelligence collection program" as well as the true identity of a US intelligence officer, Demers said.

According to an undated FBI missing persons declaration regarding Witt, she had not been in contact with anyone since 2013.

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