Thompson’s story almost sounds like the plot of a romance series set in the background of a war between the US and Iran. Unfortunately, however, committing capital treason is not something that has a romantic ending.
Mariam Taha Thompson is a US military linguist who worked as a translator with “top-security clearance” and was assigned to a US special operations task force in Erbil, Iraq.
According to Associated Press, she is accused of “keeping a list of [US] secret informants hidden under her mattress and sharing those names.”
Thompson reportedly intensified the leaking of information during the US airstrikes on the Syrian and Iraqi bases of Hezbollah’s Iraqi proxy on December 29th, 2019.
The United States had launched these airstrikes in response to attacks by the group on the Iraqi Security Forces military base that killed an American contractor and several Iraqi troops on December 27th.
The investigators said that Thompson “put at risk the lives of American military members and confidential sources, and represented a significant breach of classified information,” according to The Associated Press.
When she was arrested on February 27th, Thompson confessed to leaking information along with the names of eight US government sources, including their true names, photos, and background information.
Thompson is 61 years old and lives in Rochester, Minnesota. She is related to a Lebanese government official and “has apparent connections to Hezbollah,” according to the US Justice Department.
According to the US Department of Defense, she researched and leaked information to Hezbollah for a period of six months.
Her reason for leaking the information is a romantic interest and not political. She has an infatuation for a Lebanese man who works for Hezbollah. She was leaking military information to him as a token of her affection. Her Lebanese lover remains unidentified.
Commenting on the incident, Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official, called what Thompson did a “disgrace, especially for someone serving as a contractor with the United States military. This betrayal of country and colleagues will be punished.”
The investigation revealed audit logs from Thompson on the Defense Department’s classified systems where “she looked up nearly 60 files on human intelligence sources she had no need to access.”
Mariam Taha Thompson was subsequently charged on March 4th and faces three charges of violating espionage laws. If convicted, she could be looking at receiving life in prison in the United States.