Former US counterintelligence agent charged with revealing classified information to Iran

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 13, 2019

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

A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence officer who defected to Iran six years ago has been charged with spying for the Iranian government and helping Iran target other U.S. intelligence agents.

Witt, 39, served in the Air Force from 1997 to 2008, records show, rising to the rank of technical sergeant. They also remain at large; arrest warrants have been issued for them.

After leaving the armed forces in 2008, Witt worked as a contractor for two years, officials said.

The indictment suggests that Witt defected for ideological motives, and it quotes emails between Witt and an Iranian agent, referred to as Individual A, prior to her defection.

Provided with housing and computer equipment by the Iranian government, Witt tracked down USA counterintelligence agents she used to work with on Facebook, the indictment said, and disclosed the classified identity of at least one of those agents, according to the charges.

The Justice Department alleged she shared with Iran packages of information about her former colleagues so they could be targeted, as well as the code name and mission of a Defence Department Special Access Programme, which was highly classified.

More news: Andy Cohen Debuts First Official Photos of His Adorable Son Benjamin

A previously issued Federal Bureau of Investigation missing persons poster said she was working as an English teacher in either Afghanistan or Tajikistan, and had lived overseas for more than a year before vanishing. According to authorities, she started working on behalf of Tehran by disclosing classified information and compiling research on USA intelligence personnel she previously worked with. That event, which court papers say is sponsored by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, promotes an anti-American viewpoint.

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.

Witt appears to have turned against the United States some time before February 2012, when she traveled to Iran to attend a New Horizon conference that featured anti-U.S. propaganda. She returned to Iran in 2013 and was provided housing and computer equipment by Iranian officials. It said she replied: "Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil".

Several conferences sponsored by the New Horizon Organization have taken place in Iran and Iraq in recent years, according to U.S. officials.

According to the FBI, Ms Witt was last seen in southwest Asia in July 2013.

Mesri, Masampour and Parvar also face sanctions for their involvement with Net Peygard, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Otros informes por

Discuta este artículo

SIGUE NUESTRO PERIÓDICO