Former US Air Force counterintelligence agent charged with spying for Iran


Former U.S. Air Force Officer Monica Witt was charged on Wednesday by the Department of Justice with sharing government secrets with the Iranian officials.

Witt, 39, disclosed the true name and work of a United States government agent to Iran in 2014-2015, the indictment alleges, and also "created target packages for use by Iran" against U.S. government agents and counterintelligence officers.

The US also indicted four Iranians working for the Revolutionary Guard who, using information Witt provided them, targeted her former colleagues in US intelligence with malware and other hacking tools in hopes of accessing their computer networks.

Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's national security division, says, "It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country".

The event, though, has received a tepid response overseas, as some objected to the its anti-Iran focus.

She is also alleged to have worked with Iran on research to target other USA officers.

39-year-old Monica Witt, a counter-intelligence officer and special agent of the Air Force, defected to Iran in 2013.

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During her time in the military, she had top secret clearance, the indictment says, which gave her access to intelligence materials that contained the real names of American sources and clandestine agents. The Department of Justice said the suspect defected to the Arab nation in 2013 and is accused of providing Tehran with highly classified information used to target her former fellow agents.

The four Iranians were acting on behalf of the government-linked Iranian Revolutionary Guard, prosecutors said.

The FBI seeks her arrest on the charges of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to representatives of a foreign government and delivering national defense information to representatives of a foreign government, specifically the government of Iran. That year, an unidentified person contacted her and remarked that she was well-trained.

She revealed to the Iranians a "highly classified intelligence collection program" as well as the true identity of a U.S. intelligence officer, Demers said. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.??

Witt served in the Air Force from 1997 to 2008, and was a Defense Department contractor until 2010. "Her primary motivation appears to be ideological".

In February 2013, Witt returned to Iran for another New Horizon conference and told officials there that she wanted to emigrate. These hackers proceeded to make fake Facebook accounts to befriend Witt's former agents and attempt to install spyware on their computer activity. "Today's announcement also highlights our commitment to vigorously pursue those who threaten USA security through state-sponsored hacking campaigns".

An Iranian communications company was also sanctioned for allegedly planting malware on United States intelligence agents' computers. The four men were identified as Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar.