Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

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

Ex-Air Force Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Giving Secrets 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.

A former United States air force intelligence officer who defected to Iran in 2013, has been charged with espionage, giving away the identity of a covert U.S. agent and other secrets.

Besides charges and an arrest warrant issued in the name of the former USAF service member, the DOJ also indicted four Iranian hackers who supposedly carried out the cyber-attacks acting on information provided by Witt. She continued to serve as an intelligence officer until 2010.

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

"She chose not to heed our warning that travel to Iran could potentially make her susceptible to recruitment", Tabb said.

She defected to Iran in 2013 after being invited to two all-expense-paid conferences in the country that the Justice Department says promoted anti-Western propaganda and condemned American moral standards.

The indictment claims Witt not only revealed to Iranian officials the existence of highly-classified intelligence programs, but also provided them with the true identity of at least one American intelligence officer.

The U.S. Treasury said Net Peygard targeted current and former U.S. government and military personnel with a malicious cybercampaign, while New Horizon had staged global gatherings to back efforts by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force to recruit and collect intelligence from foreign participants.

The former agent was "granted high-level security clearances and was deployed overseas to conduct classified counterintelligence missions", according to the Justice Department.

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

A former member of USA counterintelligence worked for years with the Iranian government to undermine US national security, according to an indictment unsealed today.

The indictment says Witt was part of the Air Force until 2008 and then worked as a contractor for the Defence Department for two years.

The indictment includes snippets of dialogue between Witt and the person who recruited her her, identified only as Individual 1. The Justice Department said the information threatened other agents in the US intelligence community, a federation of 16 agencies. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.??

Yahoo News reports that she wrote a message claiming that she might "do like [Edward] Snowden", the former USA intelligence contractor who leaked thousands of highly-classified documents about the National Security Agency in 2013 before being granted asylum in Russian Federation.

US authorities have not yet arrested Witt, who remains at large in Iran, but a warrant has been issued.

Witt maintained contact with an IRGC member she met at the conference and eventually defected to the Islamic Republic.

Also charged are four Iranians who allegedly worked on behalf of the Quds.

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