A former Department of Defense linguist will head to prison for giving classified information to the terrorist group Hezbollah.
Mariam Taha Thompson, 62, of Minnesota, was sentenced to 23 years in prison during a hearing in federal court last week. She previously pleaded guilty to passing information to a person who would then provide it to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Hezbollah is a U.S. designated terrorist group whose goal is the destruction of Israel.
Thompson worked as a linguist at an overseas U.S. military facility where she had top-secret clearance, according to prosecutors. Thompson admitted she started communicating with another person in 2017 using video chat.
She developed a romantic interest in the other person and learned that person had a relative in the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior, according to prosecutors. The unnamed co-conspired also received a ring from the secretary-general of Hezbollah.
In 2019, while Thompson worked in Iraq, the U.S. launched a series of airstrikes targeting Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed foreign terrorist organization. They ended with a strike that killed the founder of Kata’ib Hezbollah and an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander.
The co-conspirator then asked Thompson to provide information about people who helped the U.S. in the targeted attacks, according to prosecutors.
Thompson then accessed files with human intelligence sources, including true names and photographs. She then passed the information to the co-conspirator, according to prosecutors.
The co-conspirator told her his contacts were pleased with the information and wanted to meet her when she came to Lebanon.