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Pentagon linguist pleads guilty to exposing U.S. intelligence sources to Hezbollah

A linguist for the Division of Protection pleaded responsible on Friday to passing categorized details about U.S. human intelligence sources to a person with ties to Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist group, the Division of Justice mentioned. Mariam Taha Thompson started sending the knowledge after the U.S. killed Qassem Soleimani, a prime Iranian navy commander, in an airstrike in early 2020, in response to court docket paperwork. 

Thompson, who held a prime secret safety clearance, had been stationed at a Particular Operations Activity Pressure facility in Iraq from mid-December 2019 till her arrest just a few months later

Years earlier than she started passing categorized info, she was launched to a Lebanese nationwide on social media through a member of the family, in response to the assertion of info that she agreed to as a part of her plea. Although she by no means met the person in particular person, the person expressed curiosity in marrying her and having her transfer to Lebanon, the court docket paperwork mentioned. The 2 communicated often from 2017 to 2020. 

Via their chats, the now 63-year-old Thompson discovered that the person, who’s unnamed within the court docket paperwork, had a nephew who was a member of the Lebanese Ministry of the Inside. The person additionally claimed to have contact with members of Hezbollah. Prosecutors mentioned Thompson didn’t inform the person the place she was stationed and mentioned he had not requested for categorized info earlier than January 2020. 

That modified after Soleimani was killed by the U.S. The person was “very emotional and upset concerning the U.S. airstrikes, particularly the demise of [Soleimani], and he began to ask Thompson to supply ‘them’ with details about the human belongings that had helped the US to focus on” the Iranian commander, the court docket paperwork mentioned. “Thompson understood ‘them’ to be Lebanese [Hezbollah].” 

Thompson believed that if she didn’t cross on the categorized info that her relationship with the Lebanese nationwide “would come to an finish” and he “wouldn’t marry her.”

She then started accessing nationwide protection info that she didn’t have a have to entry or know and exhibiting her notes containing the key info to the person, the paperwork mentioned. She handed over true names, private identification information, background info and pictures of clandestine human sources, and likewise handed on particulars of U.S. targets, court docket paperwork mentioned. 

Thompson supplied the person with “the identities of not less than 10 clandestine human belongings; not less than 20 U.S. targets; and a number of ways, methods and procedures,” the Division of Justice mentioned. 

In response, Thompson’s romantic curiosity advised her that “his contacts had been happy with the knowledge” and he would introduce her to a Hezbollah navy commander when she arrived in Lebanon, court docket paperwork mentioned. 

“It is astounding that an American working for the U.S. navy abroad would abandon her nation in favor of terrorists,” Alan Kohler Jr., assistant director for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, mentioned in a press release. “The FBI and its companions positioned a excessive precedence on this case as a result of the defendant supplied categorized protection info to a international terrorist group, info that put members of the U.S. navy in hurt’s means.”

Thompson pled responsible to 1 depend of delivering nationwide protection info to help a international authorities, and faces a most sentence of life in jail. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 23. 

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