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Washington, DC (KROC-AM News) - A former Rochester woman was sentenced this week to 23 years in prison for an espionage-related conviction.

62-year-old Mariam Taha Thompson earlier pleaded guilty to delivering classified national defense information to a foreign government. A news release from the US Department of Justice says Thompson, as part of her guilty plea, admitted that she believed the information that she was passing to a Lebanese national would be provided to Hezbollah, which is a designated foreign terrorist organization.

“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,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “That Thompson passed our nation’s sensitive secrets to someone whom 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.”

Court documents say Thompson was employed as a contractor linguist at a US military facility overseas and had a Top-Secret government security clearance when she began communicating in 2017 with a  person who eventually became a romantic interest. The individual, described in the court records as an unindicted co-conspirator, had a family member in the Lebanese government and connections to a high-ranking official in the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon.

Thompson was assigned to a Special Operations Task Force in Iraq in December 2019 and the unit was involved in airstrikes in early January of last year that resulted in the death of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani. Federal officials say Thompson was then asked by the "romantic interest" to provide information about "human assets" that helped the US target Suleimani.

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(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Prosecutors say Thompson used her Top-Secret clearance to provide the co-conspirator with the identities of at least eight clandestine human assets, at least 10 US targets, as well as other classified information about tactics, techniques, and procedures. The news release says Thompson intended and had reason to believe the information she was providing would be used by Hezbollah to harm the United States.

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