Military linguist charged for allegedly supplying classified info to contact with ties to Hezbollah

A woman, who once called Minnesota home, is being charged with espionage in what officials are calling a "betrayal of our armed forces," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia.

Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, worked as a linguist for the Department of Defense. Thompson, who at one time lived in Rochester, Minnesota, allegedly shared highly classified national defense information to a foreign national, who is believed to have ties to the terrorist group Hezbollah.

“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. 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,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea for the District of Columbia in a press release.

According to the investigation, on December 30, the same day protesters stormed a U.S. embassy in Iraq to protest U.S. airstrikes, Thompson began accessing classified information "she had no need to access." During a six-week period, she looked up dozens of files about human intelligence sources, which included true names, personal identification, background information, photos and information that those people gave to the U.S. government.

During a search of Thompson's home in February, investigators found a handwritten note in Arabic under her mattress. The note had classified information from the computer systems that identified intelligence sources by name and instructed their phones be monitored. The note also had a warning for a Department of Defense target who is connected to Hezbollah.

Further investigation determined Thompson shared the information from the note to a foreign national with whom she was romantically involved. Officials learned the person had connections to Hezbollah and has a relative who works for the Lebanese government. Investigators learned another time Thompson had shared information that identified another human asset and the information they gave to the U.S. government.

FBI special agents arrested Thompson on February 27 at an overseas U.S. military facility. She made her first appearance in the case Wednesday afternoon.