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US accuses Army vet cyber-Casanova of sharing Russia-Ukraine war secrets

Yet another US military man is facing a potentially significant stretch in prison after allegedly sending secret national defense information (NDI) overseas.

David Franklin Slater, 63, was indicted on Monday and faces three counts of conspiracy to disclose NDI. On the same day, Pentagon documents leaker Jack Teixeira also pleaded guilty to his crimes, as expected.

Slater is said to have developed a relationship with a co-conspirator, believed by him to be a woman in Ukraine, via a foreign dating app and used the same app to send secret data back to the recipient at their request.

A civilian employee of the US Air Force at the time, Slater held a Top Secret security clearance from around August 2021 to April 2022 and with that attended numerous Top Secret briefings concerning the war in Ukraine.

During this time he allegedly transmitted the knowledge gained from these briefings to the individual on the dating app, the Department of Justice said.

NDI has three different categorizations. Top Secret refers to information that could reasonably be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage” to US national security if communicated to those who don’t have the necessary clearance.

Information categorized as Secret refers to data that could reasonably be expected to cause “serious damage”, and Confidential information could lead to cause “damage” to US national security.

Slater, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, is said to have transmitted Secret-category information to the woman in Ukraine.

According to the indictment, the supposed Ukrainian woman communicating with Slater sent a number of messages requesting information from him, seemingly fascinated and infatuated with his role in the US armed forces.

For example, on or about March 7, 2022, the woman messaged Slater saying: “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?”

Four days later, she asked about the information being communicated during the Top Secret meetings.

“Dear, what is shown on the screens in the special room?? It is very interesting,” the person wrote.

On or about March 23, 2022, according to the indictment, Slater received the following: “Dave, it’s great that you get information about [unspecified country] first. I hope you will tell me right away? You are my secret agent. With love.”

Five days after, Slater is alleged to have sent NDI about military targets in the Russia-Ukraine war, and on April 13, 2022, he sent NDI about Russian military capabilities, the indictment reads.

No allegations have been made about the motives or the real identity of the individual presenting as a Ukrainian woman.

“As alleged, Mr. Slater, an Air Force civilian employee and retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, knowingly transmitted classified national defense information to another person in blatant disregard for the security of his country and his oath to safeguard its secrets,” said assistant attorney general Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. 

“The Department of Justice will seek to hold accountable those who knowingly and willfully put their country at risk by disclosing classified information.”

Slater is due to appear in a Nebraska court today and if convicted, will serve a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for each of the three counts.  ®