World Media

Ex-US Air Force Intelligence Agent Charged With Spying for Iran

Ex-US Air Force Intelligence Agent Charged With Spying for Iran

The US Justice Department on Wednesday charged former US Air Force intelligence official Monica Witt with "conspiracy to deliver and delivering national defense information to representatives of the Iranian government".

The Justice Department says the Iranian government supplied her with housing and computer equipment so she could "disclose US classified information" and conduct research on "personnel that she had known and worked with" during her time in the American intelligence community.

An Iranian communications company was also sanctioned for allegedly planting malware on U.S. intelligence agents' computers.

The publication of the indictment coincided with the Treasury Department's announcing a new series of cyber-security related sanctions on a number of Iranian individuals and entities, including the IRGC, which engages in "efforts to recruit and collect intelligence from foreign attendees [of various conferences], including USA persons, and four associated individuals", according to the a release announcing the sanctions.

The DOJ statement said there's an arrest warrant for Witt, who remains at large.

"It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country", said the head of the Justice Department's national security division, on what is apparently such a day.

This image provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows part of the wanted poster for Monica Elfriede Witt, the former U.S. air force counter-intelligence specialist who defected to Iran despite warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Witt is also alleged to have disclosed the code name and classified mission of a U.S. Department of Defense Special Access Program.

She attended the same conference the following year and was hired by an unnamed individual to assist in the filming of an anti-American propaganda commercial. At that point, she made contact with an Iranian agent who helped her settle in Iran.

Broncos to trade for Joe Flacco
Putting the immobile Flacco in this situation feels, well, a lot like the ones he failed in in recent seasons in Baltimore. As a result, Denver appears ready to move on from one-year starter Case Keenum via trade or offseason release.

Officials said Witt turned on the USA and shifted her loyalty to the Islamic Republic for "ideological reasons". "Thanks for giving me the opportunity", according to the indictment.

Over the same period, the four Iranians charged in the same indictment, named as Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar, as well as unnamed co-conspirators, are alleged to have mounted hacking attacks against the current and former U.S. intelligence agents Witt had identified.

Witt worked for the Air Force and was a counterintelligence agent for 11 years where she had top-security clearance.

The DOJ reports Witt provided members of Iran's intelligence service with a copy of her resume back in 2013. The hackers managed to gain access to a Facebook group of US government agents.

She claimed to have "extensive experience living and working" in locations that included Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan and Iran.

Iranian hackers then used that information to target those individuals with cyberattacks, the Justice Department said. She continued to serve as an intelligence officer until 2010. The four men were identified as Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar.

According to the New York Times, officials say Witt submitted details of her background to an operative with ties to Iranian intelligence in August 2013 and moved to Iran the same month.

In October 2018, the USA was ordered by the United Nations court to provisionally lift some of its newly imposed sanctions against Iran.