Ex-Air Force officer accused of spying slammed United States for Islam 'propaganda'

The U.S. government accused Monica Witt 39 of revealing highly-classified information to Tehran.             
    FBI

The U.S. government accused Monica Witt 39 of revealing highly-classified information to Tehran. FBI

"The alleged actions of Monica Witt in assisting a hostile nation are a betrayal of our nation's security, our military, and the American people", said Special Agent Terry Phillips of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

The US Department of Justice unsealed today espionage-related charges against a former US Air Force service member who defected to Iran and helped the country's hackers target her former Air Force colleagues.

The Justice Department says Monica Witt defected to Iran and helped its cyberspies target her former compatriots in the U.S. Air Force.

The US Treasury Department also announced sanctions against an Iranian company accused of organizing conferences that served as a platform to recruit Witt, and against another Iranian company suspected of having participated in the cyberattacks.

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".

Witt traveled there in February 2012 to attend the New Horizon Organization's "Hollywoodism" conference, the indictment says.

Prosecutors claim that Witt first met with IRGC officers at a New Horizon conference in Tehran in 2012.

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Officials said Witt turned on the US and shifted her loyalty to the Islamic Republic for "ideological reasons".

Additionally, in 2014, Witt created packages of information on former agents she worked with and sent them to Iranian hackers who worked for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Shortly after joining the military, Witt studied Farsi at the U.S. Defense Language Institute in California before deploying overseas for four years to conduct classified missions collecting signals intelligence.

"Once a holder of a top secret security clearance, Monica Witt actively sought opportunities to undermine the United States and support the government of Iran - a country which poses a serious threat to our national security", said FBI executive assistant director Jay Tabb, the bureau's top national security official. The Justice Department said the information threatened other agents in the USA intelligence community, a federation of 16 agencies.

Once in Tehran, Iranian authorities provided her with housing and computer equipment, the indictment alleges, and she began work on behalf of Iran. That year, an unidentified person contacted her and remarked that she was well-trained. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavouring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.

In one message she wrote that she might "do like (Edward) Snowden", the former United States intelligence contractor who in early June 2013 leaked thousands of documents on the operations of the National Security Agency.

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. Prosecutors say they targeted at least eight former colleagues of Witt's in the intelligence community.

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