Monica Elfriede Witt provided the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a branch of the country's armed forces, with information related to her work on a secret Pentagon program, according to the indictment released publicly Wednesday.
Monica Elfriede Witt, a former Texas resident, left the USA military in 2008 after more than a decade of service.
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.
The Justice Department said Tuesday that Witt, who remains at large, held high-level security clearances before she defected to Iran in 2013. Officials believe she still lives in Iran. Soon after, she moved to Iran, where she received housing and "computer equipment" by the Iranian regime. At that point, she made contact with an Iranian agent who helped her settle in Iran. They are suspected of attempting to introduce malware into the USA officials' computers.
In July 2013, according to the indictment, Individual A told Witt that Iranian officials were suspicious of her, wondering how she managed to travel around Asia while claiming to have no money. United States authorities accuse the organization working at the behest of Iran's Revolutionary Guard and promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
She allegedly revealed to Tehran the existence of a "highly classified intelligence collection programme" and the real identity of a US intelligence officer. Witt allegedly goes by the pseudonyms Fatemah Zahra and Narges Witt and has converted to Islam.
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Witt served in the Air Force from 1997 to 2008 before separating and becoming a civilian contractor.
But later that year, she helped an unnamed Iranian-American official produce an anti-American propaganda film.
After her re-entry, Iranian government officials gave Witt housing and computer equipment, where she disclosed classified USA information to an Iranian government official.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: Assistant U.S. Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers (2nd L), United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Scott W. Brady (R), and FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Cyber Division Eric Welling (L) listen during a news conference to announce criminal charges on October 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Her work for the government ended in 2010.
On August 28, 2013, she finally defected to Tehran, where she took the name Fatemah Zahra and, according to the indictment, began disclosing classified information to Iranian officials, including the identity of a covert U.S. operative. "I am starting to get frustrated at the level of Iranian suspicion".
Investigators allege Ms Witt was recruited after attending two conferences hosted by New Horizon Organization, which was working on behalf of the Iranian National Guard's Quds Force to collect intelligence on attendees. These hackers proceeded to make fake Facebook accounts to befriend Witt's former agents and attempt to install spyware on their computer activity.