US Air Force officer who defected 'spied for Iran'

14 Février, 2019, 02:48 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Monica Witt

A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence officer who defected to Iran six years ago has been charged with spying for the Iranian government and helping Iran target other U.S. intelligence agents.

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 Department of Treasury also announced economic sanctions against two Iranian companies today -New Horizon Organization, for its support of the IRGC; and Net Peygard Samavat Company, a company that developed and attempted to install malware on US government personnel' computers under the coordination of the IRGC.

"New Horizon hosts worldwide conferences that have provided Iranian intelligence officers a platform to recruit and collect damaging information from attendees, while propagating anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial", Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin said.

All four remain at large.

Given free housing and computer equipment, she went to work for the Iranians, turning over information about a classified Defense Department program and assembling into "target packages" research she conducted into the family lives, locations and missions of former colleagues.

The indictment also alleges that Witt disclosed the code name and classified mission of a USA defense department Special Access Program.

In a charging document, investigators say the 39-year-old was deployed by the United States to locations in the Middle East to conduct classified counterintelligence operations.

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

They declined to say to what extent these disclosures compromised USA intelligence operations targeting Iran.

A Farsi language specialist, she was deployed to the Gulf area several times on signals intelligence missions, according to the indictment, and had top security clearance giving her access to the identities of clandestine USA agents and informants in the field.

Prosecutors say she eventually defected to Iran on August 28, 2013, flying to Tehran from Dubai, writing to Individual A "I'm signing off and heading out!"

Demers further explained, "Four Iranian cyber hackers are also charged with various computer crimes targeting members of the US intelligence community who were Ms. Witt's former colleagues".

Jay Tabb, the FBI's top national security official, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had warned Witt before her defection that she was a vulnerable target for recruitment by Iranian intelligence but that Witt had ignored those warnings.

After leaving the armed forces in 2008, Witt worked as a contractor for two years, officials said. The hackers managed to gain access to a Facebook group of US government agents. -Iranian citizen who is identified as "Individual A" in the indictment hired Witt to be her assistant on an anti-American propaganda film.

Iranian nationals Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar were charged with computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft. She was also a Defense Department contractor until 2010. Iran's nuclear program was the target of the U.S.

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