• The suspect allegedly began illegally accessing classified information the day after a U.S. airstrike against Iranian-backed forces in Iraq
  • The suspect was a contract linguist for the Department of Defense with top secret clearance
  • Her co-conspirator allegedly has ties to the terrorist group, Hezbollah

A Rochester, Minnesota, woman who worked as a linguist for the Department of Defense on Wednesday faced charges she gave classified information to a foreign national who had ties to the terrorist organization, Hezbollah.

Mariam Taha Thompson, 61, was charged with delivering defense information to aid a foreign government and conspiracy. She was arrested by the FBI on Feb. 27 at an overseas military facility where she was a contract linguist with top secret security clearance.

“While in a war zone, the defendant allegedly gave sensitive national defense information, including the names of individuals helping the United States, to a Lebanese national located overseas,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, said in a press release.

“If true, this conduct is a disgrace, especially for someone serving as a contractor with the United States military. This betrayal of country and colleagues will be punished.”

Thompson allegedly turned over information on U.S. intelligence agents, “including their true names,” to a co-conspirator with whom she had a romantic relationship and who has ties to Hezbollah and a relative in the Lebanese government.

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

Thompson allegedly began turning over the information on Dec. 30, one day after U.S. airstrikes against Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and the same day protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In the following six weeks, she allegedly accessed numerous files not connected to her work, the complaint said.

Investigators said a search of her quarters produced a handwritten note in Arabic that contained the names of intelligence assets and instructions about monitoring their phones. She allegedly transmitted information in handwritten notes to her paramour.

Thompson could face life in prison if convicted.