Despite Iran Spy, NBC Alarmed By Security Conference Targeting Regime

On Wednesday, Americans learned that, during the Obama years, U.S. intelligence officer Monica Witt was recruited to be a spy by Iran and fed them sensitive information, including the identities of intelligence sources. Despite Iran’s clear effort to harm America, NBC Nightly News ran a report fretting a U.S.-led conference aimed at further squeezing the radical regime. And here’s the kicker: This report came immediately after the story about the Iran spy.

NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell was at the conference in Warsaw, Poland to seemingly whine about every aspect of it. “Some of our biggest allies are not sending top diplomats here. France, Germany, England,” she chided Vice President Mike Pence just after admitting it was “the first Arab/Israeli summit largely aimed at pressuring Iran.

Mitchell appeared flabbergasted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking a combative stance, and almost offended by a report that claimed the U.S. was sabotaging the Iranian ballistic missile program:

But tonight, Israel's prime minister set off alarms tweeting they were there “to advance the common interest of war with Iran.” Then within the hour, taking out the word "war" and writing instead, “to advance the common interest of combating Iran.”

Adding to tension, The New York Times report that the U.S. may be secretly sabotaging Iran's missiles and rockets. And an anti-Iran rally here by a group represented by the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

 

 

Iran's foreign minister calls this a ‘desperate anti-Iran circus’. Tomorrow, the Vice President delivers a tough speech against Iran,” she concluded.

All this pearl-clutching came immediately after NBC Justice correspondent Pete Williams reported that, “Federal prosecutors say Monica Witt served nearly 11 years in the Air Force as an intelligence officer, two more years as a contractor, and then secretly defected to Iran in 2013 and turned spy. In return, the FBI says, the Iranians gave her housing and computers.

Williams noted that Witt thought she might “do like Snowden” and cause extensive damage to U.S. security:

Investigators say she revealed details of secret U.S. intelligence programs and the names of overseas intelligence sources, information that could damage U.S. security. The FBI says she also told these four Iranian cyber-spies the names of her former American intelligence colleagues whose computers were then hacked.

Despite that damage, Mitchell seemed more concerned for Iran.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

NBC Nightly News
February 13, 2019
7:01:20 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Good evening, everyone. The FBI is warning national security may have been put at risk by a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer who is charged tonight with spying for Iran. Officials say she revealed secrets of U.S. spying on Iran and the names of American intelligence sources, making them targets of Iranian hackers. All after she defected to Iran where it's believed she remains tonight. This as the U.S. leads a summit in Poland and increasing pressure on Iran. Our Justice correspondent Pete Williams has details.

[Cuts to video]

PETE WILLIAMS: Federal prosecutors say Monica Witt served nearly 11 years in the Air Force as an intelligence officer, two more years as a contractor, and then secretly defected to Iran in 2013 and turned spy. In return, the FBI says, the Iranians gave her housing and computers. Investigators say she revealed details of secret U.S. intelligence programs and the names of overseas intelligence sources, information that could damage U.S. security. The FBI says she also told these four Iranian cyber-spies the names of her former American intelligence colleagues whose computers were then hacked.

JOHN DEMERS [Asst. Attorney General for Nat. Sec.]: It's a sad day. Any time one of our members of our armed forces, or anyone in America, betrays their country as we've alleged that Monica Witt has done --

WILLIAMS: Prosecutors say she defected after attending two of these anti-western conferences organized by the Iranian government, then texted her handler, “if all else fails, I just may go public with a program and do like Snowden.” The FBI says agents warned her Iran might try to recruit her as a spy, but that she said she'd never do that. A year later, she was in Iran making anti-U.S. videos. And the FBI says she's still believed to be there. Pete Williams, NBC News at the Justice Department.

[Cuts to video]

ANDREA MITCHELL: This is Andrea Mitchell in Warsaw. As the Vice President leads the first Arab/Israeli summit largely aimed at pressuring Iran. Some of our biggest allies are not sending top diplomats here. France, Germany, England.

MIKE PENCE: [Transition] We begin to work, not just among Arab nations, but Arab nations and Israel working together with the United States and our allies to isolate Iran economically and diplomatically.

MITCHELL: But tonight, Israel's prime minister set off alarms tweeting they were there “to advance the common interest of war with Iran.” Then within the hour, taking out the word "war" and writing instead, “to advance the common interest of combating Iran.”

Adding to tension, The New York Times report that the U.S. may be secretly sabotaging Iran's missiles and rockets. And an anti-Iran rally here by a group represented by the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

MITCHELL: Iran's foreign minister calls this a “desperate anti-Iran circus”. Tomorrow, the Vice President delivers a tough speech against Iran.

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