Monica Elfriede Witt is accused of double-crossing The United States, but there's more to the betrayal than meets the eye.
"You dirty, double-crossing rat." That is one of James Cagney's most famous lines. It is also applicable in many instances in politics and especially when it comes to the FBI and CIA. Most of their job description includes certain levels of betrayal and secrecy. Maybe it's one of the allures of working for those organizations. Monica Elfriede Witt was a spy for the United States and became an expert in betrayals. Eventually, she would take those skills and turn them on the country that taught them to her.
Witt was an expert counterintelligence agent in the U.S. Air Force. By all accounts, she was at the top of her game and an excellent agent. There were no complaints about her performance, and when she retired in 2008, she was retained as a contractor until 2013. A considerable honor by any standards and one that she was allegedly proud of, at least for a while.
Something changed her mind in 2013, though there is nothing on record saying what the event was. Whatever it was turned Witt into a double agent, one who was willing to tell Iranian enemies about all of the operatives that were working within the country and around the world. In fact, Witt began to unload some of the information that she had in the hopes of landing some help with the new group that she was pledging her allegiance. “They are going to get back to me on if they can help me very soon before I leave,” the spy told an Iranian reporter. She was seeking help and asylum because she knew that leaking this information was going to land her in a lot of hot water with the U.S. Government.
The group that Witt was (or possibly still is) working with is called Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a group that promotes anti-American sentiments. They have made videos, in which Witt has appeared, about how bad America is and why people of the world should be fighting the country, why they are wrong on almost every issue. For her part, Witt started to agree with them and converted to the Islamic faith.
After going to a conference that the group put on, Witt returned to the U.S. and seemed to go back to living her life. The FBI paid her a visit to warn her that an Iranian group was going to try and recruit her and that she was on their radar. She assured the agents that the information that she collected would never be handed over to the group. Maybe she meant that at the time?
But she went back to Iran for another conference, and this time she met with leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. They worked hard to convince her that they were the good guys, that she should help them. While there, she was paired with American-Iranian journalist, Marzieh Hashemi. A new professional pairing was made, and Hashemi began work on an Anti-American film in which Witt appeared. It is alleged that Witt told Hashemi that the work she had done for the U.S. was "evil" and she regretted it.
Sometime around the middle of 2013, Witt decided to leave the country that she now loathed. She traveled to Afghanistan to teach English. Her family and loved ones tried to reach out to her but heard nothing back. They reported her missing to the FBI, who put out a missing person's bulletin, which read;
“Witt may have also traveled to the United Arab Emirates or Iran, where she had previously traveled on at least two other occasions, The last known contact with her is believed to have been in June 2013. She had been working overseas for more than a year. Witt’s friends recently reported her missing after not receiving any response from her in several months.”
It is alleged that while Witt was in Afghanistan, she made contact with Iranians. But those meetings did not go as well as she had hoped they would. She was frustrated that they didn't trust her. Why wouldn't they believe a double agent? She threatened to go to Russia after things did not proceed as she wished they would. “I think I can slip into Russia quietly if they help me and then I can contact Wikileaks from there without disclosing my location,” she reportedly said to Hashemi.
The Wikileaks part of the story doesn't stop with her wanting to head over to Putin's Palace. Witt threatened to "do like Snowden," and release documents and information that had been gathered by her. Invoking Edward Snowden seemed to have an effect on the Iranians as they suddenly gave her money to move to Dubai.
Sailors were held captive and questioned by Iranians in 2016. It is alleged that Witt was one of the people asking them questions. They were released after 15 hours, and that is when the criminal investigation into Witt began. For a spy who was used to covert missions, this seems like a sloppy way to get things done. Some have theorized that she wanted to get caught.
Her friend Ms. Hashemi was arrested in Louisiana after coming back to the States to see family. She was transported to Washington D.C. and questioned by intelligence officials. The journalist was released. Witt is wanted by the FBI, but there is no word if they have her location or if she has disappeared again.