US army translator accused of sharing secrets with Hezbollah

If she is found guilty, the charges against her could hold potential life sentences, and even the death penalty.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the US Department of Defense, taken September 2018 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Pentagon, headquarters of the US Department of Defense, taken September 2018
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A US army translator was recently arrested in a US army base in Iraq after being accused of giving highly sensitive classified information to a Lebanese citizen close to the Hezbollah terrorist group.
The information that she is accused of transmitting allegedly contains, "sensitive national defense information, including the names of individuals helping the United States, to a Lebanese national located overseas," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
Mariam Taha Thompson worked at a special operation's facility in Erbal, Iraq since mid-December 2019 as a contracted linguist.
After the US conducted an airstrike on Hezbollah's weapon depots and command centers in Iraq and Syria on December 30, Thompson accessed files to eight spying sources, to which her work made a "notable shift," according to documents released in the initial hearing held on Wednesday.
For the next six weeks she continued to access secret government files that contained the names of the intelligence source, according to a report by The New York Times.
A list in Arabic containing the names of intelligence sources, as well as warning to a military target affiliated with Hezbollah, was found in her mattress by the FBI on February 19.
The Justice department said Thompson repeatedly accessed dozens of documents that she didn't need to go through, for which she is being faced with charges of unlawfully possessing government information; a lesser offense than that of giving that information to a foreign country.
Thompson was flown back to the US and the hearing was held in DC. She will be detained without bond until March 11 where another hearing will be held, deciding on whether she will stay in jail until her trial.
Her charges for violation of espionage laws, if she is found guilty, could hold potential life sentences, including the death penalty, she was told by Judge Robin Meriweather.
John Cummings, a prosecutor in the hearing that she poses "a grave and imminent threat to US assets in a military zone."
It remains unclear how Thompson had access to the classified information in the first place, raising security questions.