DoD Contractor Charged with Leaking Military Secrets to Individual Linked to Militant Group

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This March 27, 2008, file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
This March 27, 2008, file photo, shows the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON — A Defense Department contract linguist has been charged with giving classified information, including the names of American intelligence assets, to a Lebanese national with ties to Hezbollah, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors accused Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, of turning over information that placed in danger those intelligence assets and American military personnel.

Thompson was due in court later Wednesday for an initial appearance. She was arrested last week on the espionage-related allegation.

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 that she had no need to review. Those files included the names of human assets, their photographs and cables detailing the information that the sources provided to the U.S. government.

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

Eric Tucker, The Associated Press

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