Ex-Air Force Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Giving Secrets To Iran

Charlene Craig
February 14, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department has indicted a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer for aiding Iran in what Washington says was a cyberespionage operation targeting U.S. intelligence officers.

US officials said Witt supplied classified information about USA intelligence officers after defecting to Iran in 2013.

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.

The indictment also charges four Iranians with conspiracy, attempts to commit computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft as part of an effort in 2014 and 2015 to target Witt's former colleagues and co-workers in the U.S. intelligence community. She initially served as an airborne cryptologic language analyst, which is a specialist responsible for translating intelligence communication often intercepted via airborne assets.

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The interview came just after Witt attended New Horizon Organization's "Hollywoodism" conference - an anti-American event in Tehran.

"As someone who served in the United States army for years, I expected that after embracing Islam, my right to choose a religion and my beliefs would be respected", Witt, who was born in El Paso, Texas, said at the time.

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".

She also created packages for Iranian intelligence officers to target confidential USA. officials working within the country. In exchange, she disclosed classified information, including detailed information about USA intelligence officials, using information to draft "target packages" against those intelligence community individuals, the indictment charges.

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The former agent was "granted high-level security clearances and was deployed overseas to conduct classified counterintelligence missions", according to the Justice Department. Four Iranian agents were also charged for targeting U.S. intelligence personnel through information Witt provided.

The Justice Department officials would not say whether Witt's prosecution was connected to an American-born Iranian television anchorwoman who was recently released after being detained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a material witness in an undisclosed USA case. The Justice Department said the information threatened other agents in the USA intelligence community, a federation of 16 agencies. That's a reference to Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked classified US information.

Iranian hackers are accused of setting up fake social media accounts to befriend the agents that Witt provided information on to try and install spyware to their computers.

Aided by Individual A, Witt eventually met Iran's ambassador in Tajikistan, who gave her money to fly to Dubai.

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After leaving the Air Force, she worked as an intelligence analyst with major defense contractor Booze Allen Hamilton in 2008 supporting the Army as an Iranian subject matter expert.

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