DoJ Charges US Agent, Four Iranians with Conspiracy

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has indicted a former US counterintelligence agent with espionage on behalf of Iran. Additionally, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) announced sanctions on a group of six Iranian nationals known as the Cyber Conspirators.

The DoJ indicted former US counterintelligence agent Monica Witt for “conspiracy to deliver and delivering national defense information to representatives of the Iranian government.” Witt, who is currently at large and believed to be hiding in Iran, is reported to have shared information that could be detrimental to national security with Iranian intelligence services.

According to a February 13 press release from the Treasury, OFAC issued additional sanctions against a separate Iran-based entity, which includes six individuals believed to have targeted current and former U.S. government and military personnel as part of a cyber campaign.

“Treasury is taking action against malicious Iranian cyber actors and covert operations that have targeted Americans at home and overseas as part of our ongoing efforts to counter the Iranian regime’s cyberattacks,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Four malicious actors allegedly associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), a unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, are suspected of being involved in a cyber campaign and were also indicted by the DoJ. 

The February 13 indictment included charges against four Iranian nationals, who also remain at large: Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar. These four alleged members of the Cyber Conspirators stand accused of “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.”

The charges are alarming and highlight the reality of the ongoing cyber-threats from foreign adversaries. “This case underscores the dangers to our intelligence professionals and the lengths our adversaries will go to identify them, expose them, target them and, in a few rare cases, ultimately turn them against the nation they swore to protect,” said assistant attorney general for national security John Demers.

“When our intelligence professionals are targeted or betrayed, the National Security Division will relentlessly pursue justice against the wrongdoers.”

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