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Pentagon Insider Arrested on Espionage Charges for Allegedly Feeding Classified Info to Terror Group

A government contractor based in Iraq has been charged with espionage and accused of trying to funnel highly classified material to the terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, was charged with transmitting highly sensitive classified information to a foreign national connected to Hezbollah, according to a Justice Department statement.
An affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint said that a search of Thompson’s living quarters, while she was stationed in Erbil, Iraq, found that she had documents with the names of active human assets of the U.S. government and also the name of a Hezbollah target who she was trying to warn. Thompson held a Top Secret security clearance.
“By compromising the identities of these human assets, Thompson placed the lives of the human assets and U.S. military personnel in grave danger,” the release said.
“While 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.
“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,” Demers said.
“The conduct alleged in this complaint is a grave threat to national security, placed lives at risk, and represents a betrayal of our armed forces.  The charges we’ve filed today should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider disclosing classified national defense information to a terrorist organization,” U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea for the District of Columbia said.
Thompson was arrested on Feb. 27. She made her initial court appearance on Wednesday.
The investigation into Thompson began in late December, when officials noted changes in Thompson’s activity on the Erbil base’s computer network. The changes took place after the storming of the American embassy in Baghdad.
“During a six-week period between December 30, 2019, and February 10, 2020, 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,” the Justice Department statement said.
When a search of Thompson’s quarters was conducted on Feb. 19, a handwritten note in Arabic was found stashed under Thompson’s mattress.
The note included classified information that identified human assets of the U.S. government as well as a warning to an individual linked to Hezbollah.
It included the real names of the assets and warned that their phones should be monitored.
The statement said that Thompson worked with “a co-conspirator, in whom she had a romantic interest,” saying that the individual had a relative within the Lebanese government as well as connections to Hezbollah.
“Thompson also provided information to her co-conspirator identifying another human asset and the information the asset had provided to the United States, as well as providing information regarding the techniques the human assets were using to gather information on behalf of the United States,” the statement said.
In the affidavit filed to support the charges, Thompson is quoted as having told investigators that she would memorize classified information that she viewed, then write it down. She would then use the video feature of a messaging app on her phone to transmit the information.
If Thompson is convicted of the charges against her, she could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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