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US defense contractor arrested for spying for Hezbollah terror group

Hezbollah Flag. (upyernoz/Flickr)
March 05, 2020

Mariam Taha Thompson, a Department of Defense contractor and linguist, has been arrested and charged with espionage for allegedly providing classified defense information to the Hezbollah terror organization.

Thompson, 61, was arrested at an overseas military facility by FBI agents on Feb. 27, according to a Department of Justice press release. The true names and information of human sources working for the U.S. were among the articles of information Thompson is accused of leaking to a person with ties to both the Lebanese government and Hezbollah.

“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 in the DOJ press statement. “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.”

The investigation into Thompson’s alleged leaks revealed that Thompson repeatedly accessed classified information around Dec. 30, 2019 as pro-Iranian Kata’ib Hezbollah militia attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Audit logs of Thompson’s classified network activity showed she accessed classified information that she had no need to know, according to the DOJ.

“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 DOJ release stated.

The DOJ’s court filing assessed that Thompson had been assigned to work with the Special Operations Task Force facility in Erbil, Iraq for just two weeks before her suspicious activities began. She was recorded accessing at least 57 files concerning eight human intelligence sources.

A Feb. 19 search of Thompson’s residence also led investigators to discover a handwritten note, in Arabic, under her mattress. The note reportedly contained the information of human sources working for the U.S. and warned the recipient to monitor the phone activity of that human source. The note also contained a warning to a Hezbollah-affiliated person who had become a target of the Department of Defense.

The DOJ further claims Thompson revealed some of the methods sources have used to gather information on behalf of the U.S.

Investigators stated Thompson admitted she had become romantically involved with her Hezbollah-connected contact and that she was aware of this person’s ties to the terror organization even as she communicated information to them.

Thompson was charged with Delivering Defense Information to Aid a Foreign Government and conspiracy. If convicted, she could face life in prison.