U.S. charges former Air Force officer with spying for Iran

Monica Witt 39 a former U.S. Air Force officer indicted for aiding Iran is seen in this FBI

Monica Witt 39 a former U.S. Air Force officer indicted for aiding Iran is seen in this FBI

A former Air Force counterintelligence officer was charged with disclosing the identifies of American spies and a confidential Defense Department operation, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Monica Elfriede Witt, the 39-year-old former agent named in the grand jury indictment, is accused of exposing members of the USA intelligence community, targeting former colleagues with an elaborate computer scheme run by Iran, and exposing a top-secret Defense Department program considered one of the "crown jewels of US intelligence", according to Fox News.

Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of disclosing the code name and classified mission of a USA military special access program to the Iranian government.

The indictment also alleges that Witt revealed the identity of several undercover USA agents.

Iranian nationals Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar were charged with computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft.

Later that year she worked with Individual A to make a video critical of the United States, and the two continued to communicate.

The interview came just after Witt attended New Horizon Organization's "Hollywoodism" conference - an anti-American event in Tehran. The world's largest social network has been under pressure to do more to combat misinformation and continues to pull down fake accounts this year, including 783 pages, groups and accounts tied to Iran. She is believed to be in Iran, officials said. US officials also imposed sanctions on an Iran firm, Net Peygard Samavat Company, that it said conducted the hacking operation, and Iranian events company, New Horizon Organization, that it said works to recruit foreign attendees. The New York Times reports she was privy to the real names of both intelligence assets and the USA officials who helped recruit them. She had top-level security clearance while working for the USA government and was trained in Farsi by the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

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They are said to be charged with using malware, phishing attacks and false identities, including one called Bella Wood on Facebook, who successfully friended one of the United States agents while they were deployed as a military intelligence officer in Kabul. The hackers managed to gain access to a Facebook group of USA government agents.

After leaving the Air Force, she worked as a defense and intelligence contractor, but by 2012 her politics had begun to turn.

The IQNA noted that Witt "referred to the extensive propaganda against Iran and Islam in the USA, saying that the American people are under the influence of the propaganda". That year, an unidentified person contacted her and remarked that she was well-trained.

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.

"The last known contact with her is believed to have been in June 2013", the Federal Bureau of Investigation alert said.

In the weeks after defecting, she also conducted several Facebook searches of her former colleagues, and is alleged to have exposed one agent's true identity, "thereby risking the life of this individual".

"Espionage by past or present members of the intelligence community poses a significant threat to our country and a heightened danger to their former colleagues", he said.

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