Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Spying for Iran

US Air Force officer who defected 'spied for Iran'

Monica Elfriede Witt, who defected to Iran in 2013 and is now at-large, is accused of revealing classified information to Iran.

Iran was able to flip a US counter-intelligence agent and used her to spy on former colleagues, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

She also created packages for Iranian intelligence officers to target confidential USA. officials working within the country.

"In one such instance, the Cyber Conspirators", as the four Iranians are called, "created a Facebook account that purported to belong to a [intelligence community] employee and former colleague of Witt, and which utilized legitimate information and photos from the USIC employee's actual Facebook account", the Justice Department said.

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.

She was also charged with helping Iranian intelligence services in targeting her former co-workers, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday. -Iranian citizen who is identified as "Individual A" in the indictment hired Witt to be her assistant on an anti-American propaganda film.

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The Iranian hackers also used photos and information of another United States counterintelligence official to create a fake Facebook account for friending other agents.

Witt told the federal agents that if she returned to Iran, she would not provide any information on her past work for the American government. The department charged she traveled in 2012 to Iran to attend a conference run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a faction of the Iranian military known to support terrorism and sanctioned by the United States.

American investigators allege the Iranians used "fictional and imposter social media accounts" aimed at deploying malware that would give them cover access to their targets' computers and networks.

The announcement, which also included sanctions on the New Horizon Organization, organization officials, and a company tied to the hacking effort, came on the opening day of a US-led global conference in Warsaw, Poland aimed at boosting pressure on Tehran.

Prosecutors say Ms Witt had been granted the highest level of US security clearance and worked in the US Air Force from 1997 to 2008. That year, an unidentified person contacted her and remarked that she was well-trained. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavouring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil. These hackers proceeded to make fake Facebook accounts to befriend Witt's former agents and attempt to install spyware on their computer activity. The hackers managed to gain access to a Facebook group of US government agents.

The Air Force has adjusted its security measures to prevent similar incidents in the future, said Terry Phillips, a special agent in the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations.

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