Monica Witt, former Air Force counterintelligence specialist, accused of spying for Iran

Monica Witt

Modal Trigger Monica Witt AP

According to authorities, she started working on behalf of Tehran by disclosing classified information and compiling research on US intelligence personnel she previously worked with.

In the weeks after defecting, she also conducted several Facebook searches of her former colleagues, and is alleged to have exposed one agent's true identity, "thereby risking the life of this individual". She worked extensively in the Middle East and had access to classified information, including the names of multiple American intelligence officials. She then found work as a Defense Department contractor.

"She made a decision to turn against the United States and shift her loyalty to Iran", said Jay Tabb, the FBI's executive assistant director for national security.

Two years later, court papers say, her involvement with Iran began.

Besides charges and an arrest warrant issued in the name of the former USAF service member, the DOJ also indicted four Iranian hackers who supposedly carried out the cyber-attacks acting on information provided by Witt.

She replied, "LOL thank the sec of defense?"

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 USA intelligence officers into turncoat spies.

Billing itself as an "anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist" think tank, New Horizon organized conferences in Iran that cast a critical eye on USA and Israeli policy worldwide and stoked accusations of anti-Semitism from Western critics. American officials say the conferences, which promote Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories, serve as a platform for Iran to recruit and collect intelligence.

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Last November, US President Donald Trump re-imposed all sanctions on Iran that had been suspended due to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement.

"She chose not to heed our warning that travel to Iran could potentially make her susceptible to recruitment", Tabb said. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavouring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil. "Thanks for giving me the opportunity".

She eventually did, with help from Individual A, in August 2013.

Witt's actions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, put the life of the officer whose identity she revealed at risk.

Witt allegedly provided information on the targets that were worth hacking and even worked with the four hackers to register an impostor Facebook account in the name of a former colleague, successfully befriending other special agents.

Using a typed smiley-face, she later told the same, unnamed person, "If all else fails, I just may go public with a program and do like Snowden".

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

In a charging document, investigators say the 39-year-old was deployed by the United States to locations in the Middle East to conduct classified counterintelligence operations.

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