A contract linguist at an overseas U.S. military facility pleaded guilty to transmitting highly sensitive classified national defense information to Lebanese Hizballah, according to a Friday report by the Department of Justice.
Mariam Taha Thompson, 63, was entrusted with a top secret government security clearance, the report says. She pleaded guilty to leaking information to an unindicted co-conspirator, in whom she reportedly developed a romantic interest over a messaging application in 2017, and who she knew had a family member in the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior.
Defense Department Linguist Pleads Guilty to Transmitting Highly Sensitive Classified National Defense Information to Aid a Foreign Governmenthttps://t.co/1W96nHCbBE
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) March 26, 2021
Thompson was assigned to a special operations task force facility in Iraq in December 2019. The United States launched a series of airstrikes targeting designated Iranian-backed terrorist organization “Kata’ib Hizballlah” around that time, according to the report.
The offensive culminated Jan. 3 when Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, as well as the founder of Kata’ib Hizballah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were assassinated as a result of a U.S. drone strike.
Thompson’s co-conspirator requested her to provide “them” with information about the human assets of the U.S. military involved in the assassination of Soleimani. The defendant admitted that she understood that “they” were Lebanese Hizballah, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
She had managed to pass dozens of secret files containing the identities of at least 10 clandestine human assets; at least 20 U.S. targets; and multiple tactics, techniques and procedures by the time of her arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in February 2020, the report says.
“It’s astounding that an American working for the U.S. military overseas would abandon her country in favor of terrorists,” Assistant Director for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division Alan Kohler said according to the DOJ. “The FBI and its partners placed a high priority on this case because the defendant provided classified defense information to a foreign terrorist organization, information that put members of the U.S. military in harm’s way.”
Thompson faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.