DOD linguist charged with giving classified info to Lebanese national with ties to Hezbollah: DOJ

A linguist working for the Department of Defense was arrested last week on charges of giving top-secret information, including details on American intelligence assets, to a Lebanese national with ties to Hezbollah, a group designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.

Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, who had top-secret government security clearance, was arrested Thursday on the espionage-related allegation at an unidentified U.S. military facility overseas, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

A contractor with the Department of Defense was arrested last week on charges of espionage. 

A contractor with the Department of Defense was arrested last week on charges of espionage.  (defense.gov)

Federal prosecutors accused Thompson, formerly of Rochester, Minn., of turning over information that placed intelligence assets and American military personnel in danger.

Prosecutors said that during a six-week period starting in late December, when U.S. airstrikes targeted Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, Thompson repeatedly accessed dozens of files, including the names of human assets, their pictures and information detailing what these sources provided the U.S. government.

Prosecutors said that when officials searched her living quarters, they found a handwritten note in Arabic under her mattress with information about DOD computer systems and warning of a DOD target.

Prosecutors said she had given the information in the note to a co-conspirator who worked for the Lebanese government and "has apparent connections" to Hezbollah.

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“The conduct alleged in this complaint is a grave threat to national security, placed lives at risk, and represents a betrayal of our armed forces,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea for the District of Columbia. “The charges we’ve filed today should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider disclosing classified national defense information to a terrorist organization.”

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Thompson was due in court later Wednesday for an initial appearance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.