American Mata Hari: U.S. Intel Officer Indicted for Her Spying for Iranian Intelligence

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will premiere the classic motion picture “Mata Hari” starring the legendary actress, Greta Garbo, as the Dutch entertainer who became a spy for the Germans during World War I.  (Check local cable-television schedules for times and dates.)
The name “Mata Hari” has endured decades as the generic name for seductive female spies no matter which side these vamps spied on. During the 1920’s and ’30’s, World War I was still referred to as The Great War, and the legend of the Dutch dancer who was put to death by the French government for espionage was still fresh and intriguing.
Ms. Witt is living a hero’s life in Iran thanks to the intelligence community being busy spying on Republicans and the Trump administration.

Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, a former U.S. service member and counterintelligence agent, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for conspiracy to deliver and delivering national defense information to representatives of the Iranian government.  Witt, who defected to Iran in 2013, is alleged to have assisted Iranian intelligence services in targeting her former fellow agents in the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC). Could she be a new breed of female espionage agents in the 21st Century?

Witt is also alleged to have disclosed the code name and classified mission of a U.S. Department of Defense Special Access Program. An arrest warrant has been issued for Witt, who remains at large, possibly residing in Tehran.

The 39-year-old El Paso, Texas, native disappeared into the Islamic Republic, allegedly to support the Guard with her counterintelligence knowledge to target American military officials. The unveiling of federal charges this week now links her to hackers with alleged ties to the Guard, a powerful paramilitary force within Iran answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Monica Witt, a U.S. citizen, was an active duty U.S. Air Force Intelligence Specialist and Special Agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, who entered the military in 1997 and left the U.S. government in 2008.

Monica Witt separated from the Air Force in 2008 and ended work with DOD as a contractor in 2010.  During her tenure with the U.S. government, Witt was granted high-level security clearances and was deployed overseas to conduct classified counterintelligence missions.

In Feb. 2012, Witt traveled to Iran to attend the Iranian New Horizon Organization’s “Hollywoodism” conference, an IRGC-sponsored event aimed at, among other things, condemning American moral standards and promoting anti-U.S. propaganda.

Through subsequent interactions and communications with a dual United States-Iranian citizen

The late Mata Hari, legendary spy and exotic dancer.

referred to in the federal indictment as Subject A, Witt successfully arranged to re-enter Iran in Aug. 2013.  Thereafter, Iranian government officials provided Witt with housing and computer equipment.  She went on to disclose U.S. classified information to the Iranian government official.

As part of her work on behalf of the Iranian government, she conducted research about U.S. intelligence community personnel that she had known and worked with, and used that information to draft “target packages” against these U.S. agents.

Iranian Hacking Efforts Targeting Witt’s Former Colleagues

Although the United States government spends billions of dollars on intelligence and counterintelligence, this leviathan of secrets and plots — 17 separate agencies — appears to have been too busy to have caught traitors who spy for U.S. enemies.

Things became quite strange at the CIA when President Obama appointed John Brennan as the director. He’s been on the wrong side of history when he supported and voted for a communist party candidate for president (Gus Hall) and while assigned to Saudi Arabia he allegedly converted to Islam.

“They [Brennan, Clapper and Comey] were faithful in providing President Barack Obama with reports that coincided with White House lies. A priority was their work spying on the Trump campaign, his transition into the White House and the creation of fabricated stories by the likes of the politically-corrupted CIA Director John Brennan, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and FBI Director James Comey,” said former NYPD Intelligence Division Det. Lt. Samuel Montgomery.

Beginning in late 2014, the Cyber Conspirators began a malicious campaign targeting Witt’s former co-workers and colleagues.  Specifically, Mesri registered and helped manage an Iranian company, the identity of which is known to the United States, which conducted computer intrusions against targets inside and outside the United States on behalf of the IRGC.  Using computer and online infrastructure, in some cases procured by Mesri, the conspiracy tested its malware and gathered information from target computers or networks, and sent spear phishing messages to its targets, according to a Justice Department document

Specifically, between Jan. and May 2015, the Cyber Conspirators, using fictitious and imposter accounts, attempted to trick their targets into clicking links or opening files that would allow the conspirators to deploy malware on the target’s computer.  In one such instance, the Cyber Conspirators created a Facebook account that purported to belong to a USIC employee and former colleague of Witt, and which utilized legitimate information and photos from the USIC employee’s actual Facebook account. This particular fake account caused several of Witt’s former colleagues to accept “friend” requests.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with assistance from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Curtis, Jocelyn Ballantine and Luke Jones of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia with assistance from Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.


Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show.. He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

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