U.S. charges former Air Force officer with spying for Iran

U.S. charges former Air Force officer with spying for Iran

As the sanctions were announced, the U.S. also charged a former Air Force officer with spying for Tehran.

A former US Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran has been charged with revealing classified information as well as research about her former colleagues to representatives of the Tehran government, prosecutors said Wednesday.

On Feb. 13, 2019, the DOJ announced an indictment against Witt, who defected to Iran in 2013 and is now at-large. She is now at-large, along with four Iranian hackers who, prosecutors say, used the information she provided to target her former colleagues in the USA intelligence community. She continued to serve as an intelligence officer until 2010.

Investigators allege that Witt was recruited by affiliates of the Guard while attending conferences organized by New Horizon Organization, which allegedly collects intelligence on conference attendees.

In 2013, Witt traveled to Iran for that year's "Holywoodism" conference.

She defected to Iran in 2013 and is believed to be there now. US officials also imposed sanctions on an Iran firm, Net Peygard Samavat Company, that it said conducted the hacking operation, and Iranian events company, New Horizon Organization, that it said works to recruit foreign attendees. Prosecutors say they targeted former colleagues of Witt's in the intelligence community. Throughout her tenure with the Air Force, she maintained "high-level" security clearances and even deployed to the Middle East to participate in counter intelligence operations.

As part of its action, the United States sanctioned two Iran-based firms - New Horizon Organization and Net Peygard Samavat Company - and several individuals associated with the two groups.

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

Witt worked for the Air Force from 1997 until 2008, and then as a contractor.

After she was permitted to emigrate to Iran she told her contact that she was "signing off and heading out", adding, "Coming home".

A U.S. Air Force veteran and former counterintelligence agent was charged Wednesday with spying on behalf of the Iranian government.

However, one agent who friended the fake account added the hackers to a Facebook group filled with USA government agents, allowing them to gather more information, according to the indictment. -Iranian citizen who is identified as "Individual A" in the indictment hired Witt to be her assistant on an anti-American propaganda film. For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavouring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil. That's a reference to Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked classified USA information.

Witt defected to Iran in August 2013.

Officials would not elaborate on why the indictment was brought six years after her detection, except to say that they had to move classified intelligence into an unclassified format to be used in a pending criminal proceeding.

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