Retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel arrested for leaking classified Ukrainian information on dating website

Tuesday, 5 March 2024

A retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel was arrested on 2 March and charged with unlawfully disclosing classified information about national defence and the Russian-Ukrainian war through a dating website.

According to Department of Justice, 63-year-old David Franklin Slater, who until recently worked as a civilian contractor for the US Department of Defense with US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), allegedly communicated with an individual posing as a woman residing in Ukraine. He purportedly sent her certain classified Pentagon documents about the Russia-Ukraine war.

While working at STRATCOM, Slater had clearance granting him access to classified information, according to investigation documents, and underwent training on handling confidential state information.

"Certain responsibilities are incumbent to individuals with access to Top Secret information. The allegations against Mr. Slater challenge whether he betrayed those responsibilities," said US Attorney Susan Lehr for the District of Nebraska.


The co-conspirator consistently asked Slater to provide her with confidential, non-public, restricted, and classified information, referring to Slater in her messages as her "secret informant love" and a "secret agent." In response to these requests, Slater indeed provided her with classified information, including details about military facilities and the Russian military’s potential related to its invasion of Ukraine.

"Dear, what is shown on the screens in the special room?? It is very interesting," stated one of the messages sent to Slater in March 2022, as reported by CBS News. "Beloved Dave, do NATO and Biden have a secret plan to help us?" the person on the other side of the screen inquired.

"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," one of the messages read.

"My sweet Dave, thanks for the valuable information, it's great that two officials from the USA are going to Kyiv," the message from 14 April 2022 reads.

Slater will appear in court on 5 March in Nebraska. If found guilty, he could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to US$250,000 for each count of conspiracy to communicate national defence information. The charges against Slater were announced shortly after a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Jack Teixeira, admitted to violating the Espionage Act by posting classified government documents, some related to the war in Ukraine, on a Minecraft-related online bulletin board system.

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