US Charges Former Air Force Intel Officer With Spying for Iran

Former Air Force intelligence officer charged with defecting to Iran and conspiring to share top-secret information

The New York Times reports she was privy to the real names of both intelligence assets and the U.S. officials who helped recruit them.

Born and raised in Texas, Witt entered on duty for the Air Force from 1997 to 2008 and worked as a contractor from 2008 to 2010.

A former US Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with revealing classified information as well as research about her former colleagues to representatives of the Tehran government, prosecutors said Wednesday.

"This case underscores the dangers to our intelligence professionals and the lengths our adversaries will go to identify them, expose them, target them, and, in a few rare cases, ultimately turn them against the nation they swore to protect", said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security.

"Ms Witt was recruited by Iran as part of a program that targets former intelligence officers and others who have held security clearances".

Tabb said investigators believe Witt's motive was "ideological", and the indictment against her alleges that, before she defected, she appeared in videos that she knew would be broadcast by Iranian media outlets and "made statements that were critical of the U.S. government".

According to officials, she sent a message to her Iranian contact in 2012 saying: "I loved the work, and I am endeavouring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil. Thanks for giving me the opportunity", according to the indictment.

"I just hope I have better luck with Russian Federation at this point", Witt wrote her Iranian-American contact in July.

A previously issued Federal Bureau of Investigation missing persons poster said she was working as an English teacher in either Afghanistan or Tajikistan, and had lived overseas for more than a year before vanishing.

The Justice Department said Wednesday that Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, defected in 2013 after attending a conference in Iran aimed at "condemning American moral standards". 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. According to authorities, she started working on behalf of Tehran by disclosing classified information and compiling research on USA intelligence personnel she previously worked with. According to authorities, Witt collaborated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military unit charged with exerting Tehran's influence around the world. "It is sadder still when this person, as a member of the American armed forces, previously invoked the aid of God to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and to defend her country against foreign enemies. Monica Witt is alleged to have done just this".

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