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Former U.S. Air Force officer faces spy charges

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 13, 2019 - Duration: 01:16s

Former U.S. Air Force officer faces spy charges

U.S. authorities on Wednesday charged former Air Force intelligence officer Monica Witt with helping Iran launch a cyber-spying operation that targeted her former colleagues after she defected from the United States.

Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Former U.S. Air Force officer faces spy charges

Former U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer Monica Witt charged Wednesday, with spying for Iran and allegedly helping Iran in a cyber operation that targeted her former colleagues.

Officials say 39-year-old Witt - after defecting to Iran in 2013 - supplied classified information about U.S. intelligence officers she had worked with during her military career.

She remains at large.

Four Iranian nationals were also charged in connection to the cyber attacks and Washington sanctioned two Iran-based firms. Witt — who was once granted high-level security clearances — was allegedly recruited for the cyber-spying operation after attending conferences in Iran organized by one of the newly-sanctioned firms. Using information from Witt, Iranian firm Net Peygard launched a cyber campaign in 2014 that targeted her former colleagues.

That’s according to the indictment, which says the company used tools — like fake social media accounts — to try to install malware that would be able to track their keystrokes and other activity.

Witt - who served as a counterintelligence officer in the Air Force from 1997 until 2008 - now faces spying and conspiracy charges.

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