Former Air Force tech sergeant who defected to Iran charged with spying (Air Force Times)


    Former Air Force tech sergeant who defected to Iran charged with spying – By Kent Miller (Air Force Times) / Feb 13 2019

    The FBI released this undated photo of Monica Efriede Witt, a former Air Force intelligence specialist, in a wanted poster after she was indicted for espionage by a grand jury on Feb. 8. Witt, who speaks Farsi, defected to Iran and is living in Tehran, according to the bureau. Though she left the service as a technical sergeant, it is unclear what rank she held when this photo was taken. (FBI)

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

    A Justice Department indictment charges former Air Force Tech. Sgt. Monica Elfriede Witt, who defected in 2013 and is currently at-large, along with four Iranian hackers who, prosecutors say, used the information she provided to target former colleagues in the U.S. intelligence community.

    The indictment says the four Iranians were acting on behalf of the government-linked Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. All four remain at large.

    Witt, who was born in El Paso, Texas, joined the Air Force on Dec, 17, 1997, and served as an airborne crypto linguist, according to information provided by the Air Force. She later changed jobs and became a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Her last assignment before separating as an E-6 on June 12, 2008, was with the 2nd Field Investigations Squadron, Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, the Air Force said.

    This 2012 photo released by the Department of Justice shows Monica Elfriede Witt. The Justice Department on Wednesday announced an indictment against the former Air Force intelligence speccialist, who defected to Iran in 2013 and is currently at-large. (Department of Justice via AP)

    Her awards and decorations include the Air Medal, three Air Force Commendation medals and three Aerial Achievement medals, according to the Air Force.

    “It is a sad day for American when one of its citizens betrays our country,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division.

    Jay Tabb, the FBI’s top national security official, said the FBI had warned Witt before her defection that she was a vulnerable target for recruitment by Iranian intelligence but that Witt had ignored those warnings.


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