UPDATED 1:03 PM PT – Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The FBI has issued an arrest warrant for a former U.S. Air Force officer from Texas, who they say worked with Iranian hackers and exposed classified intelligence secrets of the Department of Defense.
39-year-old Monica Witt, a counter-intelligence officer and special agent of the Air Force, defected to Iran in 2013.
According to a Department of Justice indictment unsealed Wednesday, Witt had high-level security clearances and helped Iran launch a cyber-spying operation which targeted her former colleagues.
Officials said Witt turned on the U.S. and shifted her loyalty to the Islamic Republic for “ideological reasons.”
“The FBI actually had previously warned her that by virtue of her connections and the fact that she was going to be attending a conference in Iran that she was vulnerable to being targeted by Iranian intelligence agencies, and so she attended in 2012 a conference that promoted anti-Western propaganda,” explained Eric Tucker of the Associated Press. “She returned the next year, and then she began working for the Iranian government to provide information…she has been there ever since.”
Four Iranians who helped Witt in the cyber hack were also named in the indictment. All remain at large, but the FBI said Witt could be in Afghanistan, Iran or the United Arab Emirates working as an English teacher.