Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

US charges former Air Force intel officer with spying for Iran

US charges former Air Force intel officer with spying for Iran

39-year-old Monica Witt, a counter-intelligence officer and special agent of the Air Force, defected to Iran in 2013.

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.

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 USA government agents and counterintelligence officers.

Monica Witt, who was born and raised in Texas, allegedly provided Iranian security officials with the code name and classified mission of a U.S. Defense Department special access program.

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". In one publication, she chastised the US military as a "boys' club" in which female servicemembers suffer from pervasive sexual harassment. USA 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. She possessed high-level security clearances and conducted several classified counterintelligence missions overseas.

The indictment says the four Iranians were acting on behalf of the government-linked Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iranian hackers then set up fake Facebook personas to befriend those agents and attempt to install spyware that would track their computer activity, the indictment said. That group has been designated by the US government as promoting terrorism. That year, an unidentified person contacted her and remarked that she was well-trained.

She attended the same conference the following year and was hired by an unnamed individual to assist in the filming of an anti-American propaganda commercial.

Jay Tabb, the FBI's executive assistant director for national security, said investigators believe Witt shared information that "could cause serious damage to national security", though he declined to provide specific details of the operations she allegedly disclosed.

Messages quoted in an indictment unsealed yesterday showed Witt saying that she wanted to "put the training I received to good use instead of evil" around the time of her defection.

"She made a decision to turn against the United States and shift her loyalty to Iran", said Jay Tabb, the FBI's executive assistant director for national security.

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. From there, her task was to use social media to search for other American counterintelligence officials, and produce "target packages" on them for Iran.

Like this: