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Former US Military Translator Pleads Guilty of Espionage

A former U.S. military translator pleaded guilty Friday of divulging classified information to a Lebanese national with suspected ties to the Lebanese Hezbollah.Mariam Taha Thompson, 63, who worked as a contract linguist for the U.S. military from 2006 to 2020, pleaded guilty to one count of delivering national defense information to aid a foreign government.She faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 23.Thompson, who was born in Lebanon and became a U.S. citizen in 1993, was arrested in February 2020 at a U.S. special operations base in Irbil, Iraq.Prosecutors say she used her top secret clearance to pass the names of U.S. intelligence assets to the Lebanese national in whom she had a romantic interest and and whom she believed would share the information with Hezbollah. Hezbollah was designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.According to court documents, the unnamed Lebanese national, described as “wealthy and well-connected,” claimed to have received a ring from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and had a nephew who worked in the Lebanese Ministry of Interior.Names sought in attack on SoleimaniAfter a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in December 2019, the Lebanese national, her unindicted co-conspirator, asked Thompson to provide Hezbollah with information about the human assets who had helped the U.S. target Soleimani, according to prosecutors.Over a six-week period leading up her arrest in February 2020, Thompson provided the Lebanese national with the identities of at least 10 clandestine human assets; at least 20 U.S. targets; and multiple tactics, techniques and procedures, according to the Justice Department.“Thompson jeopardized the lives of members of the U.S. military as well as other individuals supporting the United States in a combat zone when she passed classified information to a person she knew was connected to Lebanese Hizballah, a foreign terrorist organization which intended to use the information to hurt this country,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in a statement. 

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