‘A Betrayal’: Defense Department Linguist Allegedly Gave Romantic Interest ‘Highly Sensitive’ Classified Info

A 61-year-old linguist who worked as a contractor for the Department of Defense was charged in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday for allegedly transmitting highly classified information to a romantic interest with ties to a foreign terrorist organization.

The Department of Justice said that Mariam Taha Thompson, identified as a former Minnesotan, gave a Lebanese national connected to Hizballah information “regarding active human assets, including their true names.”

“By compromising the identities of these human assets, Thompson placed the lives of the human assets and U.S. military personnel in grave danger,” the DOJ press release on the matter said.

“While in a war zone, the defendant allegedly gave sensitive national defense information, including the names of individuals helping the United States, to a Lebanese national located overseas,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement. “If true, this conduct is a disgrace, especially for someone serving as a contractor with the United States military. This betrayal of country and colleagues will be punished.”

U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea, Attorney General William Barr’s former counsel at DOJ, called Thompson’s alleged actions “a betrayal.”

According to the DOJ, FBI agents arrested Thompson on February 27 at U.S. military facility overseas. She had a “Top Secret ” clearance. Thompson has been hit with espionage charges, namely: Delivering Defense Information to Aid a Foreign Government and conspiracy.

The affidavit highlighted some interesting remarks allegedly made by Thompson after she was arrested in Erbil (e.g., “I don’t know nothing about Hizballah,” members of Hizballah are “terrorists,” and Hizballah “is like the octopus”).

The full affidavit is embedded below.

This is a developing story.

Mariam Taha Thompson by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Image via STAFF/AFP/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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