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US military linguist in Iraq charged with leaking informant identities to Hezbollah

Mariam Taha Thompson is accused of passing classified intelligence to a Lebanese love interest with connections to Hezbollah

A U.S. military translator who was based in Iraq was charged on Wednesday, March 4, in Washington federal court with passing the names of U.S. informants to people linked to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The Department of Justice said Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, was a contract linguist with a “top secret” security clearance who began working with U.S. Special Forces in Erbil, Iraq in mid-December.

It said that one day after the December 29 U.S. airstrikes on installations of the Iraqi Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah, Thompson began accessing U.S. military computer files with the identities of U.S. sources and information they had provided.

Thompson was arrested on February 27, and investigators concluded that she passed the information on the informants to a Lebanese national whom she had “a romantic interest in,” according to the charges.

Investigators on February 19 found a warning note written in Arabic hidden under Thompson’s mattress. The note was intended for the target and contained names of U.S. assets and classified military information, the Justice Department said.

The Lebanese national is related to a Lebanese government official and “has apparent connections to Hezbollah,” the statement said.

Thompson also allegedly provided her Lebanese contact with information on how U.S. intelligence assets were gathering their information.

“Thompson accessed dozens of files 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 United States government,” the Justice Department said.

Thompson was charged with transmitting national defense information to representatives of a foreign government, the maximum penalty for which is life imprisonment.

A representative for Thompson was not immediately available for comment.


With reporting from AFP

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