Air Force contractor accused of giving top secret details about the Russian military to his Ukrainian girlfriend on dating app

Sunday, March 10, 2024
 – An Air Force contractor has been accused of spilling military secrets about Russia's war in Ukraine to his Ukrainian girlfriend.

Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel David Franklin Slater, 63, was arrested Saturday on charges of illegally disclosing national defence information and conspiracy.

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges on Tuesday, March 5, and is set to be released from jail on Wednesday pending trial.

The veteran, who retired in 2020, served in Afghanistan and Germany during his time in the Army. His social media likes show he had an interest in Russian and Ukrainian women.

He was assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and had Top Secret security clearance from August 2021 until April 2022, attending briefings between February and April 2022 about Russia's war with Ukraine, the Justice Department said.

Despite having signed paperwork pledging not to disclose classified information, he allegedly intentionally and improperly shared details about military targets and Russian capabilities on an online messaging dating platform with an unindicted co-conspirator who claimed to be a woman living in Ukraine.

The co-conspirator is referred to as Slater's 'secret informant love' and described him as her 'secret agent.'

Court documents show she showed a keen interest in how the war was progressing and what any future plans might be. At least nine messages were identified by authorities where the woman asks for specific details about the military operation.

'American Intelligence says that already 100 percent of Russian troops are located on the territory of Ukraine. Do you think this information can be trusted?' the woman asks on March 7.

Four days later, she is seen asking specifics about data shown in one of the offices.

'Dear, what is shown on the screens in the special room?? It is very interesting,' she writes.

'By the way, you were the first to tell me that NATO members are travelling by train and only now (already evening) this was announced on our news. You are my secret informant love! How were your meetings? Successfully?' the woman confirms.

One week later, the woman, supposedly in Ukraine writes: 'Beloved Dave, do NATO and Biden have a secret plan to help us?'

She later compliments Dave for providing such detailed intelligence information.

'Dave, it's great that you get information about [Specified Country 1] first. I hope you will tell me right away? You are my secret agent. With love.'

The following month, on April 12, the messages are still focused on the war effort.

'Sweet Dave, the supply of weapons is completely classified, which is great!', the woman writes.

'My sweet Dave, thanks for the valuable information, it's great that two officials from the USA are going to Kyiv.' she writes days later.

The woman regularly requested sensitive, non-public, closely held, and classified NDI, which had been labelled as 'SECRET.'

'Dave, I hope tomorrow NATO will prepare a very unpleasant 'surprise' for Putin! Will you tell me?' she asks to know later in April.

Finally, before his access was pulled, the woman messages: 'You have a job in the Operations Center today, I remember, I'm sure there is a lot of interesting news there?'

According to the indictment, that alleged co-conspirator, who is not identified by prosecutors, repeatedly asked Slater for information and described him as 'my secret informant love.'

Slater allegedly provided the classified information, including details about military targets and Russian military capabilities related to the invasion of Ukraine.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division emphasized the serious nature of the allegations.

'Mr. Slater, an Air Force civilian employee and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, knowingly transmitted classified national defence information to another person in blatant disregard for the security of his country and his oath to safeguard its secrets.'

The Justice Department stated that it is committed to holding individuals accountable for willfully disclosing classified information that jeopardizes national security.

U.S. Attorney Susan Lehr for the District of Nebraska similarly highlighted the gravity of responsibilities associated with access to Top Secret information.

'Certain responsibilities are incumbent on individuals with access to Top Secret information. The allegations against Mr Slater challenge whether he betrayed those responsibilities.'

Lehr also expressed her commitment to working with investigative agencies to ensure the safety of the country.

The FBI Omaha Field Office, along with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, is actively investigating the case.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count related to the conspiracy to transmit and the transmission of national defence information.

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