A military linguist was charged with providing classified information, including the real names of people spying for the U.S., to a Lebanese man connected to the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group.
In what would be a major security breach, officials said the linguist, Mariam Taha Thompson, 61 years old, who works under contract for the Defense Department, transmitted the highly classified data while serving at a Special Operations Task Force site in Erbil, Iraq.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit said beginning around Dec. 30, 2019—the same day protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Iraq to protest U.S. airstrikes a day earlier—computer audit logs showed a shift in Ms. Thompson’s activity on classified Pentagon computer networks. In the ensuing 40 days, Ms. Thompson accessed 57 files, which “she did not have a legitimate need to access,” concerning names and other identifying information regarding eight U.S. human-intelligence sources, the affidavit said.
Ms. Thompson, of Rochester, Minn., was arrested in Iraq on Feb. 27 and faces espionage charges. She did not comment on the charges during a brief court hearing on Wednesday and hasn’t yet entered a plea.