Pentagon Staffer Sentenced for Passing Information to Hezbollah

Ex-DoD employee gave terrorist group info on Soleimani targeters

The Pentagon / Getty Images
June 23, 2021

The Department of Justice announced the sentencing of a Pentagon staffer who provided Hezbollah with sensitive information related to individuals who helped the United States target Iranian warlord Qassem Soleimani.

Mariam Taha Thompson, a former Department of Defense linguist in Iraq, transferred dozens of files containing personal information, background, and photographs of human assets who assisted in planning the airstrike that killed Soleimani to a co-conspirator. Thompson, who was romantically interested in the co-conspirator, thought the information would end up in the hands of Lebanese Hezbollah forces. The Department of Justice reported that the information concerned at least 8 clandestine human assets and 10 American targets.

A Washington, D.C., district court sentenced Thompson to 23 years in prison on charges of delivering classified national defense information to aid a foreign government. John Demers, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's national security division, said Thompson's punishment fits her crimes.

"Thompson's sentence reflects the seriousness of her violation of the trust of the American people, of the human sources she jeopardized, and of the troops who worked at her side as friends and colleagues," Demers said. "That Thompson passed our nation's sensitive secrets to someone [who] she knew had ties to Lebanese Hezbollah made her betrayal all the more serious. Thompson's sentence should stand as a clear warning to all clearance holders that violations of their oath to this country will not be taken lightly, especially when they put lives at risk."

Hezbollah attempted to gather such information about American intelligence assets in the wake of Soleimani's January 2020 death. The Iran-backed terrorist group has remained active in the Middle East since the strike, with former secretary of state Mike Pompeo saying in May that the group was considering joining in Hamas's bombardment of Israel. Hezbollah also applauded the June victory of Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi, an ultraconservative cleric and mass murderer, saying he would act as a "shield against Israel."