According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a former U.S. military translator has pleaded guilty to divulging classified information to a Lebanese official with suspected ties to the Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist group.
Mariam Taha Thompson, who worked as a contract linguist for the U.S. military in Erbil, Iraq, from 2006 to 2020, pleaded guilty to one count of delivering national defense information to aid a foreign government. She faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 23.
Thompson, who was born in Lebanon and became a U.S. citizen in 1993, was arrested in February 2020 at a U.S. special operations base in Irbil, Iraq.
Investigators discovered that as tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalated in the final days of December 2019, so did Thompson’s activity on classified systems. For the next six weeks, she used her top-secret clearance to access dozens of classified government files that contained information on American intelligence sources and government cables. In interviews with the FBI, Thompson admitted that she illegally shared classified information with the Lebanese official.
The U.S. Department of Justice reported that Thompson passed along information 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 U.S. government.
“Thompson jeopardized the lives of members of the U.S. military as well as other individuals supporting the U.S. in a combat zone when she passed classified information to a person she knew was connected to Lebanese Hezbollah, a foreign terrorist organization which intended to use the information to hurt this country,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. “To describe this conduct is to condemn it. She will now be held to account for this disgraceful personal and professional betrayal of country and colleagues.”
Read Full Article from Voice of American (NY) (03/27/21)
Author: Farivar, Masood
News summaries © copyright 2020 SmithBucklin