A 6-year-old former Pentagon linguist has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after providing sensitive information to her younger Lebanese lover with links to Hezbollah, an Iranian-linked terrorist group.
The Daily Mail reported Friday that Mariam Taha Thompson cried in court as she was sentenced earlier this week in Washington, D.C., telling the judge, “I just wanted someone to love me in my old age.”
The story has its roots in the Trump administration.
In 2019, Thompson was introduced to the man, who was not named in court papers, on social media by her Lebanese relatives. As they struck up a virtual relationship, the man asked Thompson to marry him once she retired from her job and moved back to her native Lebanon. She said she would, and began video-chatting with him in anticipation of someday becoming his bride.
However, Thompson was arrested in February 2020 in Iraq by FBI agents after she gave the man names of eight American spies and 10 U.S. targets following a drone strike that took out Iranian Revolutionary Guards Gen. Qassam Soleimani at Baghdad’s international airport.
During her sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Thompson, who had become a naturalized American citizen, told the court that she was desperate for companionship as she aged. She also told the court it was never her intention to harm the country, though she very likely did.
“Your honor, I love this country and I love our soldiers,” she told the judge, according to the Daily Mail. “I did not set out to hurt them or do damage to our national security. I just wanted to have someone to love me in my old age, and because I was desperate for that love I forgot who I was for a short period of time.”
However, her tearful explanation was brushed aside as Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, a George W. Bush appointee, sentenced her to 23 years behind bars, meaning she’ll be around 80 years old before she gets out, if she lives that long.
“There is no question in my mind that the offense conduct to which the defendant admitted endangered U.S. military personnel and human assets’ work with the United States and accordingly posed a significant threat to national security,” he said.
“This was an actual risk situation, not a hypothetical situation, and therefore it is extremely serious,” Bates added.
After Soleimani was killed, the unnamed man, whose nephew worked for the Lebanese Interior Ministry, began asking his alleged future bride for classified information.
Interestingly, the man also told Thompson he was linked to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
After Trump ordered the strike against Soleimani in December 2019, which killed him and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the founder of Kata’ib Hizballah, that’s when Thompson’s alleged husband-to-be started pressing her for sensitive information. According to the indictment, the man was extremely “upset” about the strike and asked her to find out the identities of U.S. intelligence assets responsible for tracking and identifying the targets.
Thompson agreed to help and began accessing classified documents at work in January 2020, where she copied information on post-it notes and took them home, keeping one piece of paper under a mattress in her bedroom.
When she video-chatted with the man, Thompson would list the names or hold up the post-it notes so he could take screenshots.
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