Former Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Spying for Iran

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday that a former U.S. service member and counterintelligence agent has been indicted by a grand jury for conspiracy to deliver and delivering national defense information to the Iranian government. Monica Elfriede Witt, the individual charged, remains at large.

A joint effort by the DOJ, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Treasury, and Air Force led to the indictment.

According to the DOJ release, Witt served in the Air Force before becoming a government contractor in 2010 with a high-level security clearance. Witt was deployed overseas to conduct classified counterintelligence missions.

In 2012 Witt traveled to Iran and participated in an event condemning “American moral standards and promoting anti-U.S. propaganda,” according to the release.  After this interaction, Witt returned to Iran several times and was in communication with an Iranian government official.   She received housing and computer equipment from the Iranian government.

The release explains, “She went on to disclose U.S. classified information to the Iranian government official.  As part of her work on behalf of the Iranian government, she conducted research about U.S. Intelligence Community personnel that she had known and worked with, and used that information to draft ‘target packages’ against these U.S. agents.”

Witt is also alleged to have conspired in a cyber-hacking attack against her former colleagues between 2014 and 2015.

The indictment also charges four Iranian nationals--Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar--with conspiracy, attempts to commit computer intrusion, and aggravated identity theft.

Executive Assistant Director for National Security Jay Tabb of the FBI said of the indictments, “The charges unsealed today are the result of years of investigative work by the FBI to uncover Monica Witt’s betrayal of the oath she swore to safeguard America’s intelligence and defense secrets. This case also highlights the FBI’s commitment to disrupting those who engage in malicious cyber activity to undermine our country’s national security. The FBI is grateful to the Department of Treasury and the United States Air Force for their continued partnership and assistance in this case.”

Posted in The Takedown

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