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Former Air Force intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran and revealing defense secrets

Former Air Force intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran and revealing defense secretsFormer Air Force intel officer charged with espionage for Iran govt



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PR push for white officer accused of killing armed black man

PR push for white officer accused of killing armed black manNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The attorney for a white police officer charged with fatally shooting an armed black man in Tennessee is calling for legal discovery documents to be sealed from members of the public.



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Former US intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran after defection

Former US intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran after defectionA former US Air Force intelligence officer has been charged with helping Iran target ex-colleagues with cyberattacks after defecting to the country in what was dubbed a “betrayal” of America.  Monica Witt, 39, was accused of switching sides after more than a decade of US military service and identifying American intelligence officers and their personal Facebook accounts for the Iranian regime.  Messages quoted in an indictment unsealed yesterday showed Witt saying that she wanted to “put the training I received to good use instead of evil” around the time of her defection.  Four Iranians said to have been involved in the cyber-attacks were also charged along with two Iran-based businesses, New Horizon Organization and Net Peygard Samavat Company.  The five individuals charged are all at large, meaning the chances of a successful prosecution remain unclear. The investigation to uncover the alleged crimes was being run for years.  John Demers, the US assistant attorney general, said: “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." Image released on February 13, 2019 showing the missing person page of the FBI website for Monica Witt Credit: HO/AFP/Getty Images Witt, a US citizen, worked for the US Air Force as an intelligence specialist and special agent between 1997 and 2008. She worked with the Defence Department as a contractor until 2010.  During her service she was given access to secret and top secret information relating to counterintelligence, including material that contained the true names of secret agents and sources.  Early in her career she was taught the Farsi language and was deployed in a number of overseas locations, carrying out missions to counter America’s enemies.  Witt repeatedly promised to act in America’s interests and not share classified information she accessed, according to US prosecutors – pledges which she is accused of flagrantly breaking.  The first signs of Witt’s alleged defection came when she attended the Iranian New Horizon Organization’s “Hollywoodism” conference in February 2012.  The gathering was sponsored by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s armed forces which was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration for its “malign” activities.  The conference was partly aimed at “condemning American moral standards and promoting anti-US propaganda”, US prosecutors said. By August 2013, just 18 months later, Witt had fled to Iran.  Messages between Witt and an unnamed Iranian-American who helped arrange the trip which were published in the indictment give an insight into her thinking before the defection. “Should i thank the sec of defense . . u were well trained,” the unnamed individual allegedly wrote to Witt in one message before her trip, appearing to reference the US defence secretary, her old boss.  Witt responded: “LOL thank the sec of defense? For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.” She added a smiling emoji and the words: “Thanks for giving me the opportunity.” In another message Witt wrote “If all else fails, I just may go public with a program and do like Snowden :) ”. The apparent reference is Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who leaked classified material in 2013 and then fled to Russia.  Once Witt was in Iran she was given housing and computer equipment by Iranian government officials, according to US prosecutors.  She is then accused of disclosing classified information about secret US projects and combing Facebook under an alias to identify former colleagues, putting together “target packages” that would help the Iranians find, track and “neutralize” the threat posed.  The four Iranians charged in the indictment then began a “malicious” campaign of targeting Witt’s former colleagues, according to US prosecutors.  The allegations included using fictitious or imposter Facebook accounts to send messages with links that would compromise their computers once clicked.  The Iranian nationals charged with computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft are Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar.  Terry Phillips, a US special agent with the Air Force, said: “The alleged actions of Monica Witt in assisting a hostile nation are a betrayal of our nation’s security, our military, and the American people.   “While violations like this are extremely rare, her actions as alleged are an affront to all who have served our great nation.”  It is not known how those charged will plead if the case came to court. The five individuals charged had not commented publicly in the hours immediately after the indictment was unsealed.



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Monica Witt: US Air Force officer defects to Iran with information 'seriously damaging' to national security, officials reveal

Monica Witt: US Air Force officer defects to Iran with information 'seriously damaging' to national security, officials revealA US Air Force officer has defected to Iran and shared information that could cause “serious damage” to America’s national security, officials have revealed. The former Air Force intelligence specialist was charged with espionage and was accused of working for Iran, according to an unsealed federal indictment. The announcement arrived after Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and other senior officials held a call with reporters to discuss what they called “a national security related action involving Iran”.



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US officer at border shoots driver going to Mexico

US officer at border shoots driver going to MexicoNOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — A Customs and Border Protection officer shot and wounded a driver who was trying to enter Mexico at a crossing in Arizona, the agency said Friday.



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The Latest: Protesters burn flags after officer cleared

The Latest: Protesters burn flags after officer clearedMONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on reaction following decision that clears officer in Alabama mall shooting (all times local):



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Black man slain by police: Protest after officer is cleared

Black man slain by police: Protest after officer is clearedMONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The parents of a black man killed by a police officer who mistook him for a shooter at a shopping mall joined chanting protesters outside the Alabama attorney general's office Wednesday, a day after the state cleared the officer of wrongdoing.



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Officer won't face charges in Alabama mall shooting

Officer won't face charges in Alabama mall shootingMONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama police officer will not face charges for killing a man he mistook for the gunman in a mall shooting, the state's attorney general announced Tuesday.



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Chief: Injured Houston officer shot 3 times in line of duty

Chief: Injured Houston officer shot 3 times in line of dutyHOUSTON (AP) — One of four undercover narcotics officers shot while serving a search warrant at a suspected drug house in Houston was a "tough as nails" supervisor who has been struck by gunfire two other times in his career, the city's police chief said.



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'I had to get in there' says Houston officer shot for third time in career

'I had to get in there' says Houston officer shot for third time in careerThe 54-year-old officer was one of four shot on Monday evening after Dennis Tuttle, 59, opened fire on police after they broke open the door of his home to serve a narcotics warrant, Acevedo told reporters. The first officer to enter the home in southeast Houston was attacked by a large pitbull dog, which he shot to death, Acevedo said. When the wounded officer fell on a sofa, Tuttle’s partner, Rhogena Nicholas, 58, tried to pick up the fallen officer’s shotgun but was shot by other police entering the home, Acevedo said.



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