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Defector/ex-U.S. spy charged with aiding Iranian cyberattack plan

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A U.S. counterintelligence agent specializing in Middle Eastern affairs, who defected to Iran in 2013, was indicted by a federal grand jury for conducting espionage on behalf of her adopted country.

Monica Elfriede Witt, an American citizen who served in the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations from 1997 until 2008, was charged with allegedly assisting Iranian hackers to target her former agent colleagues with malware attacks that would gain covert access to the U.S.intelligence computers and networks.

Witt, 39, reportedly was known in U.S. intelligence circles as “Wayward Storm.”

The same indictment charges four Iranian nationals, Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar (the “CyberConspirators”), with conspiracy, attempts to commit computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft, for conduct in 2014 and 2015 targeting former co-workers and colleagues of Witt in the U.S. intelligence community. 

Arrest warrants have been issued for the Cyber Conspirators, who also remain at large and thought to have been working on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The indictments are the result of a multiyear investigation.

“This case highlights the FBI’s commitment to disrupting those who engage in malicious cyber activity to undermine our country’s national security,” stated Jay Tabb, FBI executive assistant director for national security, in a press release.

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