A linguist working for the Defense Department was charged with passing "highly sensitive classified national defense information" to a foreign national affiliated with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group.
Taha Thompson is charged with compiling classified U.S. government information
"regarding active human assets, including their true names" and
passing it to Hezbollah operatives, the Department of Justice announced on
compromising the identities of these human assets, Thompson placed the lives of
the human assets and U.S. military personnel in grave danger," the Justice
Department said in a statement on Thompson's case.
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," Assistant Attorney General for
National Security John C. Demers said in a statement. "If true, this
conduct is a disgrace, especially for someone serving as a contractor with the
United States military. This betrayal of country and colleagues will be
conduct alleged in this complaint is a grave threat to national security,
placed lives at risk, and represents a betrayal of our armed forces," U.S.
Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy J. Shea said in a statement.
"The charges we've filed today should serve as a warning to anyone who
would consider disclosing classified national defense information to a terrorist
agents arrested Thompson in late February at an overseas U.S. military
facility, where she was employed as a linguist holding top secret security
clearance. A search of Thompson's living space revealed Arabic-language
documents containing classified U.S. materials.
on or about December 30, 2019," the Justice Department said, "audit
logs show a notable shift in Thompson's network activity on United States
Department of Defense classified systems, including repeated access to
classified information she had no need to access."
department said that for six weeks after that "notable shift" began,
Thompson "accessed dozens of files concerning human intelligence sources,
including true names, personal identification data, background information, and
photographs of the human assets, as well as operational cables detailing
information the assets provided to the United States government." She
transmitted the data to a Lebanese individual tied to Hezbollah "in whom she
had a romantic interest."
first appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge is scheduled for Wednesday
afternoon. The espionage charge could bring a maximum penalty of a life
sentence in prison.