Ex-US Intelligence Agent Charged With Spying and Helping Iranian Hackers

The United States Office of Justice has announced espionage fees from a former US Air Power intelligence officer with the best stage of major-magic formula clearance for supplying the Iranian governing administration categorised defense information and facts right after she defected to Iran in 2013.

Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, was a previous U.S. Air Drive Intelligence Expert and Exclusive Agent of the Air Pressure Business of Particular Investigations, who served the Air Drive between 1997 and 2008 and Office of Protection (DOD) as a contractor right until 2010.

The indictment states that Witt after held the greatest stage of Best Key safety clearance and had accessibility to information of highly classified counterintelligence operations, actual names of sources, and the identities of U.S. intelligence officers.

In February 2012, Witt allegedly traveled to Iran to attend an all-costs-compensated “Hollywoodism” conference held by the Iranian New Horizon Group, which DoJ describes as centered on promoting anti-U.S. propaganda, and then in 2013, she lastly defected to Iran.

She Leaked Categorized Facts to Iran

Once settled in Iran, Witt labored actively for the Iranian govt, who provided her with a housing and computer system devices, and disclosed the code name and categorized mission of a U.S. “Special Entry Method” and its certain concentrate on.

As section of her do the job, Witt carried out investigate about the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) brokers she had identified and previously labored with and drafted “target packages” that offered brokers profiles for four Iranian hackers, who ended up also billed by the DoJ.

Witt even shared the name of her previous fellow U.S. agent, who is however a person lively, endangering the agent’s existence.

The Iranian hackers then allegedly utilised that profile facts to send out phishing e-mails and social media messages to Witt’s former colleagues with malicious links in an attempt to trick US agents into setting up malware, which authorized the hackers to spy on their pc things to do, webcam, and keystrokes.

“In one particular these kinds of instance, the Cyber Conspirators made a Facebook account that purported to belong to a USIC personnel and former colleague of Witt, and which used reputable details and pictures from the USIC employee’s actual Fb account,” the indictment states. “This individual pretend account induced various of Witt’s former colleagues to take ‘friend’ requests.”

Witt faces a single depend of conspiracy and two counts of offering countrywide defense information to a foreign federal government. The FBI has issued an arrest warrant for Witt, who is continue to considered to be in Iran.

She Teamed Up With “Video game of Thrones” Iranian Hackers

Other than her, the DOJ also billed four Iranian nationals—Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar, and Mohamad Paryar—with conspiracy, attempts to commit personal computer intrusion and aggravated id theft for their part in assisting Witt in concentrating on her previous colleagues.

Mesri is the identical Iranian hacker who was charged by the DoJ previous yr in relationship with cyber attacks against HBO and with leaking “Game of Thrones” episodes in 2017.

The authorities mentioned Mesri compromised a number of user accounts belonging to HBO to “continuously obtain unauthorized accessibility to the company’s laptop servers and steal important stolen info like private and proprietary info, financial files, and personnel make contact with details.”

Mesri then even attempted to extort HBO for $6 million to delete the stolen facts.

Mesri, Masampour, and Parvar are also going through sanctions for their involvement with Net Peygard, in accordance to the U.S. Treasury Office.

“This situation underscores the dangers to our intelligence specialists and the lengths our adversaries will go to determine them, expose them, goal them, and, in a number of unusual conditions, ultimately change them towards the country they swore to guard,” Assistant Legal professional General John Demers explained in a statement.

“When our intelligence pros are targeted or betrayed, the Nationwide Protection Division will relentlessly pursue justice against the wrong-doers.”

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