Former U.S. Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Revealing Classified Information to Iran

Former U.S. Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Revealing Classified Information to Iran

The US Justice Department charged a former US air force intelligence official Wednesday with spying for Iran, saying she exposed a fellow US agent and helped the Revolutionary Guard target her former colleagues for cyber attacks.

The DOJ statement said there's an arrest warrant for Witt, who remains at large. During her time working for the government, Witt had access to "classified information, including details of ongoing counterintelligence operations, true names of sources, and the identities of USA agents involved in the recruitment of those sources", according to the indictment. "But every great while, one of these trusted people fails us".

Witt served in the US Air Force from 1997 to 2008, becoming a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, its counterintelligence unit.

According to the indictment, she had access to secret and top secret national defence information, including the names of intelligence sources and clandestine agents, and had been deployed between 1999 and 2003 overseas to collect electronic intelligence.

After leaving the Air Force, she worked as a defense contractor, but by 2012 her politics had turned. She was a Defense Department contractor at the time. She posed as a United States veteran who had become disillusioned with her country's policies and appeared on Iranian TV to criticize her government. USA authorities accuse the organization working at the behest of Iran's Revolutionary Guard and promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

In July 2013, according to the indictment, Individual A told Witt that Iranian officials were suspicious of her, wondering how she managed to travel around Asia while claiming to have no money.

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Witt faces two counts of delivering military information to a foreign government and one count of conspiracy. That group has been designated by the USA government as promoting terrorism. The next year, she went to another Iranian conference and soon arranged to defect, according to the indictment. Prosecutors say that Individual A worked as a spotter and assessor for Iranian intelligence.

Witt returned to the conference a year later, and began assisting Iranian intelligence services.

She successfully defected in August 2013, after providing a resume and "conversion narrative" to her contact. According to authorities, she started working on behalf of Tehran by disclosing classified information and compiling research on US intelligence personnel she previously worked with.

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.

That year she travelled to Iran to attend an anti-America conference sponsored by the New Horizon Organization. In short, she worked up dossiers about them that outlined who they were and what kind of work they might have been doing. Authorities said Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar sought to install malware in the computers of Witt's former co-workers through fake social media accounts.

Last November, US President Donald Trump re-imposed all sanctions on Iran that had been suspended due to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement. -Israeli computer sabotage weapon Stuxnet, for example, and Iran has been blamed for a number of cyberattacks against the USA and its allies, including Saudi Arabia.

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