A Department of Defense (DOD) linguist was charged with revealing American intelligence assets to a Lebanese national with reported ties to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group.
Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, was arrested in Erbil, Iraq after she repeatedly accessed dozens of files, which included the names of intelligence sources, their pictures and detailed information of what they gave over to the U.S. government.
Officials became suspicious when they noticed a “notable shift” in Thompson’s computer activity after a December 30 U.S. airstrike on Iranian-backed forces in Iraq.
During a search of her living quarters, officials said they found a handwritten note in Arabic under her mattress with names of intelligence sources and information about Defense Department computer systems.
In her computer searches, Thompson accessed information about eight intelligence sources.
Thompson had top-secret security clearance. Federal prosecutors say the information she turned over put both the American intel assets as well as American military personnel in danger.
Thompson was flown back to the U.S. where she appeared in court. She is being held without bond until March 11 when she will appear in court for a bond hearing.
At the initial hearing, Prosecutor John Cummings said Thompson poses “a grave and imminent threat to U.S. assets in a military zone.”
Thompson is charged with transmitting highly sensitive classified national defense information to a foreign national with apparent connections to Hezbollah and unlawfully possessing government information.
“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 punished,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
If found guilty, Thompson could face life in prison and a possible death sentence. She has yet to enter a plea.
Defense Department officials say they are “taking all necessary precautions” to protect American forces and intelligence sources due to the security breach.