The U.S. Justice Department issued several indictments relating to an espionage case alleging that a former U.S. Air Force Special Agent Monica Witt gave Iranian intelligence officers classified information.
It is not clear what exposure Witt had to the Persian language prior to her military service but the indictment notes that she enrolled in a Persian course at the U.S. Defense Language Institute in Monterey. She attended the language course from February 1998 until April 1999 and was deployed on "classified missions collecting signals intelligence" court documents show.
The Defense Language Institute provides the United States government and military with highly professional language training.
According to her CV posted on indeed.com, Monica Witt served in the U.S. Air Force as a Farsi Language specialist at various levels from August 1997 to March 2008. She then moved to the private sector but remained in the intelligence business relating to Iran and worked for Booze Allen Hamilton. She continued working until 2010 when she began traveling to Iran.
The CV was available online of February 13 when the news about her indictment was announced and later it was taken down.
Contact was lost with her in 2012 when she converted to Islam at a ceremony broadcast on Iranian TV according to the indictment.
Her CV states that she lived in Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, Tajikistan and Iran. She also attended conferences organized by the "New Horizon" organization that is allegedly affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
These events almost exclusively focused on criticism of the United States and was used during Ahmadinejad's presidency to promote antisemitic opinions with David Duke as one of the guests. The negative international perception about the conferences was a concern to the President Hassan Rouhani's administration, which canceled the event during the nuclear negotiations in 2013.
The moderator of one of the recent panels was Marzieh Hashemi the Press TV broadcaster who was detained in the U.S. earlier this year. According to the New York Times, Individual A in the indictment is Marzieh Hashemi.
Court documents show that Witt was questioned by the FBI in May 2012 about her Iran travel but she told the agents that she would refuse to give any classified information if she was asked by the Iranian authorities.
The indictment also documents alleged communication between Witt and her handler and her satisfaction at passing on classified information.
Monica Witt is said to have traveled to Afghanistan where she met with Iranian officials at the embassy in Kabul. The picture painted by the indictment shows that the Iranian authorities were suspicious of Witt's intentions, at the same time she felt frustrated and possibly suspected that the U.S. authorities were after her.
In an interview with the International Quran Agency dated February 9 2013, Witt is quoted as saying "becoming Muslim and wearing Hijab used to be inconceivable for me, but the more I read the Quran, the stronger would be my resolve to embrace Islam.”