USA charges former Air Force officer with spying for Iran

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

Monica Elfriede Witt, a former Texas resident, left the U.S. military in 2008 after more than a decade of service.

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 us military special access program to the Iranian government.

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.

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".

Around the same time, Witt appeared in at least one Iranian video in which she criticized the US government. That event, which court papers say is sponsored by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, promotes an anti-American viewpoint.

A warrant has been issued for Ms Witt, who remains at large.

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. No further details were immediately released.

The indictment suggests that Witt defected for ideological motives, and it quotes emails between Witt and an Iranian agent, referred to as Individual A, prior to her defection.

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They declined to say to what extent these disclosures compromised US intelligence operations targeting Iran.

The indictment suggested that Iran had reached out to her at least as far back as 2012.

"She chose to turn against the United States and shift her loyalty to the government of Iran", Tabb said. It said she replied: "Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil. Thanks for giving me the opportunity", according to the indictment.

She also conducted online research, including on Facebook, to create information "packages" on her former colleagues in the USA intelligence community.

When warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that trip that Iranian intelligence services were trying to recruit her, Witt allegedly promised that she would not talk about her counterintelligence work if she returned to Iran.

"Our intelligence professionals swear an oath to protect our country, and we trust them to uphold their oath". "But every great while, one of these trusted people fails us".

Witt, 39, was recruited after attending the Iranian New Horizon Organization's "Hollywoodism" conference - an event sponsored by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which prosecutors said was aimed at "condemning American moral standards and promoting anti-U.S. propaganda" and flipping United States intelligence officers into turncoat spies.

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