A linguist working for the US Department of Defense has been charged with leaking the identities of American spies to a lover with connections to an overseas terrorist organization.
Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, was charged yesterday with transmitting highly sensitive classified national defense information to a Lebanese national connected to Hizballah.
The Shia Islamist political party and militant group Hizballah has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US secretary of state.
Thompson, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, allegedly gathered and transmitted data relating to America’s “human assets,” placing the spies and US military personnel in grave danger.
She was arrested by FBI special agents on February 27, 2020, at an overseas US military facility, where she worked as a contract linguist and held a Top Secret government security clearance.
An investigation of audit logs showing Thompson’s network activity on United States Department of Defense classified systems found that the linguist repeatedly accessed classified information that she had no need to access.
It is alleged that over a six-week period between December 30, 2019, and February 10, 2020, Thompson looked at 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.
Thompson is accused of copying this information onto handwritten notes and passing it to a Lebanese co-conspirator with whom she was romantically involved. She is further accused of providing her lover with information regarding the techniques American spies used to gather information on behalf of the United States.
A handwritten note in Arabic was discovered under Thompson’s mattress when her living quarters were searched on February 19. The note contained classified information from Department of Defense computer systems, identifying human assets by name and warning a Department of Defense target who is affiliated with a designated foreign terrorist organization with ties to Hizballah.
Thompson was charged with delivering defense information to aid a foreign government and conspiring to do so. If convicted, Thompson could spend the rest of her life in jail.
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