Former US air force officer charged with spying for Iran

Former US air force officer charged with spying for Iran

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.

"Four Iranian cyberhackers are also charged with various computer crimes targeting members of the USA intelligence community who were Ms. Witt's former colleagues", the indictment said.

Similarly, Iran can proceed in its legal bid to recover frozen assets seized by the US, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled on Wednesday.

The indictment also charges four Iranians with conspiracy, attempts to commit computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft as part of an effort in 2014 and 2015 to target Witt's former colleagues and co-workers in the U.S. intelligence community.

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.

The event, though, has received a tepid response overseas, as some objected to the its anti-Iran focus.

Around the same time, Witt appeared in at least one Iranian video in which she criticized the USA government.

"Monica Witt is charged with revealing to the Iranian regime a highly classified intelligence program and the identity of a U.S. Intelligence Officer", Asst.

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She also allegedly did research on her former fellow counterintelligence colleagues to help draft "target packages" against them.

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. -Iranian citizen who is identified as "Individual A" in the indictment hired Witt to be her assistant on an anti-American propaganda film.

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

"Witt's primary motivation appears to have been ideological".

About one year later, she re-entered Iran, where she was provided housing and computer equipment.

Witt returned to another New Horizon Organization event in 2013 where she made the decision to emigrate to Iran. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.?? She successfully defected in August 2013.

The Department of Treasury accuses Net Peygard Samavat Company of being "involved in a malicious cyber campaign to gain access to and implant malware on the computer systems of current and former counterintelligence agents". That group has been designated by the US government as promoting terrorism. She was also a Defense Department contractor until 2010. The four men were identified as Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar.

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