"Four Iranian cyberhackers are also charged with various computer crimes targeting members of the us intelligence community who were Ms. Witt's former colleagues", the indictment said. Today, the Times exposed a top-secret US intelligence program aimed at sabotaging Iranian missiles. Investigators say her reasons for defecting were "ideological".
The most notable of the four Iranian hackers is Behzad Mesri, who U.S. authorities also charged in November 2017 with hacking HBO, stealing scripts for unaired episodes of season 6 of the hit series Game Of Thrones TV show, and later attempting to extort HBO execs for $6 million.
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against the New Horizon Organisation, which hosted the 2012 conference.
A federal grand jury charged Monica Elfriede Witt with conspiracy to deliver defense information to Iranian government representatives and assisting the Iranian intelligence services.
Witt, 39, served in the Air Force from 1997 to 2008, spending some of that time doing counterintelligence work in the Middle East, before moving to the private sector to work as a contractor.
She also conducted online research, including on Facebook, to create information "packages" on her former colleagues in the US intelligence community.
A former member of USA counterintelligence worked for years with the Iranian government to undermine US national security, according to an indictment unsealed today.
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"Espionage by past or present members of the intelligence community poses a significant threat to our country and a heightened danger to their former colleagues", he said.
Ms Witt is accused of sharing United States government secrets, including the name of agents and specifics of operations, with Iran as early as January 2012.
Messages quoted in an indictment unsealed yesterday showed Witt saying that she wanted to "put the training I received to good use instead of evil" around the time of her defection.
Witt returned to another New Horizon Organization event in 2013 where she made the decision to emigrate to Iran.
She faced resistance for months.
The indictment includes snippets of dialogue between Witt and the person who recruited her her, identified only as Individual 1. "I am starting to get frustrated at the level of Iranian suspicion". She successfully defected in August 2013. "Coming home", she wrote as she was about to board her flight from Dubai to Tehran. During her time working for the government, Witt had access to "classified information, including details of ongoing counterintelligence operations, true names of sources, and the identities of US agents involved in the recruitment of those sources", according to the indictment.
The Department of Treasury accuses Net Peygard Samavat Company of being "involved in a malicious cyber campaign to gain access to and implant malware on the computer systems of current and former counterintelligence agents". The hackers managed to gain access to a Facebook group of USA government agents.