According to a report by BBC News, Mariam Thompson, a 62-year-old U.S. Department of Defense linguist, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for leaking classified information to her love interest, a member of the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah.

“A Lebanon-born U.S. citizen, Thompson worked as a contract linguist at an overseas US military facility, where she was entrusted with a top-secret government security clearance. During this posting in 2017, she became romantically involved with a man who said he had ties to Hezbollah and the Lebanese government,” according to the BBC report.

Soleimani Air Strike Leaked

Mariam Thompson was first approached by the unnamed Lebanese man in 2017. But their relationship grew to a more intimate one over the next few years as she presumably was groomed by the man to eventually provide the information he desired.

Following the U.S. airstrike that killed terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani in January 2020, he asked her for information on who was behind the strike. Thompson provided him the classified information.

Protests following the U.S. airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani. (Getty Images)

According to the Department of Justice’s press release regarding her case:

“When she was arrested by the FBI [while still deployed overseas] on Feb. 27, 2020, Thompson had used her access to classified national defense information to provide her co-conspirator with the identities of at least eight clandestine human assets; at least 10 U.S. targets; and multiple tactics, techniques and procedures. Thompson intended and had reason to believe that this classified national defense information would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of Lebanese Hezbollah.”

The DoJ release continued, “As part of her March 26 guilty plea, Thompson admitted that she believed that the classified national defense information that she was passing to a Lebanese national would be provided to Lebanese Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organization.”

Utter Betrayal

Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Channing D. Phillips, said of Thompson’s sentencing:

“The defendant’s decision to aid a foreign terrorist organization was a betrayal that endangered the lives of the very American men and women on the battlefield who had served beside her for more than a decade.” He continued, “Let today’s sentence serve notice that there are serious consequences for anyone who betrays this country by compromising national defense information.”

By the time Thompson was arrested, she had already put American lives in the direct crosshairs of danger. At least eight clandestine American assets (and their families) are now at a significantly greater risk of death because of her actions. U.S. targets have now been revealed and the eventual fallout from her disclosing American tactics and procedures has yet to be seen.

Mariam Thompson Did It all for “LOVE”

And, in the end, what did Thompson herself have to say about her actions? In her courtroom statement for leniency during her sentencing, Thompson said:

“Your honor, I love this country, and I love our soldiers… 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.”

I hate to tell Thompson, but neither old age nor love is grounds or justification for treason or espionage. Thompson most definitely mixed up her priorities and will likely serve the rest of her now-disgraced life in federal prison with plenty of time to consider all the ways she harmed America.

A Reminder for Those With Security Clearances

“This case should serve as a clear reminder to all of those entrusted with national defense information that unilaterally disclosing such information for personal gain, or that of others, is not selfless or heroic; it is criminal,” said Alan Kohler Jr, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

Alan Kohler, Assistant Director at Federal Bureau of Investigation. (FBI)

“By knowingly distributing classified information that would be passed onto a designated foreign terrorist organization, Mariam Thompson put our national defense in danger,” he added.