U.S contractor accused of leaking classified information to Lebanon’s Hezbollah

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U.S Federal prosecutors accuse Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, of leaking the names of U.S. intelligence sources and compromising their identities while on active duty.

by Georgi Azar -Source: Annahar

A file photo of Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers taken at the Department of Justice in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)

BEIRUT: A U.S Defense Department linguist was charged with espionage Wednesday for allegedly supplying classified information to a Lebanese national with links to the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.

U.S Federal prosecutors accuse Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, of leaking the names of U.S. intelligence sources and compromising their identities while on active duty.

“If true, this conduct is a disgrace, especially for someone serving as a contractor with the United States military,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said. “This betrayal of country and colleagues will be punished,” he added.

Thompson was arrested by FBI agents at a U.S. military facility in Erbil, Iraq, where she held a top-secret government security clearance.

“While in a war zone, the defendant allegedly gave sensitive national defense information, including the names of individuals helping the United States, to a Lebanese national located overseas,” he said.

On the day protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Iraq in response to U.S. airstrikes against Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, Thompson allegedly sought access to classified information that was unconnected to her duties. This raised suspicion which then led to a court-authorized search of Thompson living quarters on February 19, 2020 and the discovery of a handwritten note in Arabic concealed under her mattress.

“Specifically, during a six-week period…Thompson accessed dozens of files concerning human intelligence sources, including true names, personal identification data, background information and the photographs of the human assets,” prosecutors claimed.

The U.S accuse Thompson of transmitting the classified information in a handwritten note to her Lebanese co-conspirator, with whom she had “a romantic interest.”

“The FBI’s investigation revealed that Thompson knew the co-conspirator was a foreign national whose relative worked for the Lebanese government,” Demers said.

“The investigation also revealed that the co-conspirator has apparent connections to Hezballah. Further investigation revealed that, in a separate communication, Thompson also provided information to her co-conspirator identifying another human asset and the information the asset had provided to the United States, as well as providing information regarding the techniques the human assets were using to gather information on behalf of the United States.”

Thompson was charged with “Delivering Defense Information to Aid a Foreign Government in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 794(a) and conspiring to do so in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 794(c).” If convicted, Thompson faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.

Hezbollah is designated as a terrorist organization by both the U.S and U.K.

 

 

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