Former Air Force specialist charged with spying for Iran

Posted at 2:29 AM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 02:29:42-05

The US has charged a former Air Force intelligence specialist with spying for Iran, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court Wednesday.

Monica Witt, who was also a former counterintelligence officer for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, defected to Iran in 2013, according to the indictment, and remains at large.

DOJ alleges that Witt was targeted and recruited by Iran, and that after she defected, she allegedly revealed to Iran the existence of a "highly classified intelligence collection program" and the identify of a US intelligence officer, "thereby risking the life of this individual," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said Wednesday.

"It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country," Demers told reporters. "It is sadder still when this person, as a member of the American armed forces, previously invoked the aid of God to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and to defend her country against foreign enemies. Monica Witt is alleged to have done just this."

From around January 2012 to around May 2015, in Iran and elsewhere outside the US, Witt conspired with Iranians to provide "documents and information relating to the national defense of the United States, with the intent and reason to believe that the same would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of Iran," the indictment reads.

Witt, 39, also "created target packages for use by Iran" against US government agents and counterintelligence officers, the indictment alleges.

Iranian government officials provided Witt with "goods and services, including housing and computer equipment," in order to facilitate her work on behalf of the government of Iran after her defection, the indictment said.

The indictment also charges four Iranians with conspiracy, attempts to commit computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft as part of a 2014 - 2015 effort to target "through and other cyber-enabled means, at least eight US government agents, all of whom at one time worked or interacted with Monica Witt," Demers said.