U.S. charges former Air Force officer for spying for Iran

U.S. charges former Air Force officer for spying for Iran

U.S. charges former Air Force officer for spying for Iran

"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", said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security.

Former US Air Force intelligence specialist Monica Witt has been indicted on seven counts for delivering national defence information to the government of Iran, conspiracy and attempt to commit computer intrusions and aggravated identity theft, according to an indictment filed in US court on Wednesday.

Witt served as a counterintelligence officer in the Air Force from 1997 until 2008 and worked as a contractor for the Defense Department for two years after that.

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced an indictment against Monica Elfriede Witt, who defected to Iran in 2013 and is now at-large.

The government issued an arrest warrant for Witt, who remains at large.

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The indictment suggests that Witt defected for ideological motives, and it quotes emails between Witt and an Iranian agent, referred to as Individual A, prior to her defection. Terry Phillips, a special agent in the Air Force office of special investigations, said Witt began working for the Iranian government after she left the military.

Witt allegedly gave Iranian officials the code name and mission of a highly classified U.S. Defense Department program and the specific target involved in that intelligence operation.

The announcement, which also included sanctions on the New Horizon Organization, organization officials, and a company tied to the hacking effort, came on the opening day of a US-led global conference in Warsaw, Poland aimed at boosting pressure on Tehran.

"She made a decision to turn against the United States and shift her loyalty to Iran", said Jay Tabb, the FBI's executive assistant director for national security.

Investigators allege Ms Witt was recruited after attending two conferences hosted by New Horizon Organization, which was working on behalf of the Iranian National Guard's Quds Force to collect intelligence on attendees.

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But later that year, she helped an unnamed Iranian-American official produce an anti-American propaganda film.

Several conferences sponsored by the New Horizon Organization have taken place in Iran and Iraq in recent years, according to United States officials.

The indictment also alleges that Witt planned to go to Russian Federation in 2013 to contact WikiLeaks without disclosing her location. "I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil", she told that person in an email.

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