Disgraced U.S. Air Force Counterintelligence Officer Accused of Spying for Iran

US Air Force officer who defected 'spied for Iran'

Ex-US intelligence officer charged in Iran espionage case

The Texas native served in the Air Force between 1997 and 2008, where she was trained in Farsi - the predominant language of Iran - and was deployed overseas on classified counterintelligence missions, including to the Middle East.

This image provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows part of the wanted poster for Monica Elfriede Witt.

The US Department of Justice unsealed today espionage-related charges against a former US Air Force service member who defected to Iran and helped the country's hackers target her former Air Force colleagues.

Witt is still believed to be in Iran, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

She was recruited to attend a 2012 Iranian conference aimed at "promoting anti-U.S. propaganda" and defected the next year. After her separation from the Air Force, Witt was employed by the Department of Defense as a contractor in 2010, where she was issued high-level security clearances and was deployed overseas to conduct classified counterintelligence missions, according to a Department of Justice indictment unsealed on February 13.

The DOJ statement said there's an arrest warrant for Witt, who remains at large.

From December 2014 to May 2015, at least four Iranian nationals created fake Facebook accounts to target Witt's former co-workers, the USA alleges.

On arrival in Iran, the Tehran government is said to have provided her with housing and computer equipment for her to help track down United States intelligence officers. Witt is also alleged to have disclosed the code name and classified mission of a U.S. Department of Defense Special Access Program.

US 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.

CLIMATE: Race is on to define 'Green New Deal'
Ed Markey of MA , the proposal calls for dramatic steps to virtually eliminate USA greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY also dismissed McConnell's plans for a vote.

She claimed to have "extensive experience living and working" in locations that included Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan and Iran.

After leaving the Air Force, she worked as a defense contractor, but by 2012 her politics had turned.

Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's national security division, says, "It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country".

While in Iran, she also allegedly converted to Islam during a television segment after identifying herself as a United States veteran, and delivered several broadcasts in which she criticised the US.

Prosecutors say that Witt established relations with individuals she met at the conference, one of whom later arranged her defection to Iran in August 2013, where she received housing and computer equipment from the Iranian government.

She wrote Individual A that she wanted to put her Air Force training "to good use instead of evil". "Thanks for giving me the opportunity".

A former US counterintelligence officer was indicted Wednesday for spying for the Iranian government, federal prosecutors said. "I am starting to get frustrated at the level of Iranian suspicion".

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.

Latest News