Disgusted by the atrocities she claimed to have witnessed in the US Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan, a counter-intelligence analyst named Monica Witt defected to Iran in 2013. She allegedly provided its intelligence services with classified information she had gathered over her career, and helped a team of hackers spearphish the social media accounts.
According to the US government, Witt’s defection was assisted by a US-born journalist, Marzieh Hashemi, who had also moved to Iran.
This January, Hashemi was arrested by US authorities while on her way to visit her son. The unexplained detention of a journalist and reports of mistreatment by her jailers sparked protest rallies outside the federal courthouse in Washington DC where her hearing took place.