Accessibility links

Breaking News

Former US Military Translator Pleads Guilty of Espionage

FILE - In this photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 18, 2016.

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 Soleimani

After 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.