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Air Force Worker Allegedly Shared Classified Data on Overseas Dating Site

In a significant breach of national security, a U.S. Air Force civilian employee faces serious charges for allegedly disclosing classified military details about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

David Franklin Slater, 63, a retired Army lieutenant colonel previously granted Top Secret security clearance, is accused of transmitting sensitive military intelligence to an individual posing as a Ukrainian woman on a foreign dating platform.

The allegations suggest that between February and April 2022, shortly after the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Slater participated in confidential briefings regarding the conflict.

Air Force Base (Credits: KKTV)

He is then reported to have shared this sensitive information through emails and messages on a dating site, which remains unnamed in the official indictment.

The Justice Department arrested Slater, marking a concerning instance of potential espionage or careless handling of classified information. Efforts to obtain legal representation for Slater have not been immediately successful.

The indictment reveals that Slater was in communication with an unnamed individual, referred to as “Co-Conspirator 1.” This person affectionately nicknamed Slater “Sweet Dave” and “my secret agent,” hinting at a personal connection exploited to solicit classified information.

Their exchanges included pressing inquiries about activities within secure command centers and requests for updates on military strategies and operations concerning the Ukraine conflict.

Over several weeks, this co-conspirator persistently probed for details, leveraging their apparent emotional connection to gain insights into military targets, strategies, and Russian military capabilities related to the ongoing invasion. This incident has prompted a strong response from the Department of Justice, highlighting the gravity of the situation.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen, from the Justice Department’s National Security Division, condemned Slater’s actions as a severe violation of national security protocols and abandoning his oath to protect U.S. secrets.

Slater is now facing charges that include conspiracy to disclose national defense information and unauthorized disclosure of such information, with potential penalties amounting to 30 years in prison and fines up to $750,000 if convicted on all counts.

Before his civilian role in the Air Force, Slater had a long and distinguished military career spanning over three decades in the Army and Army Reserve.

His service record includes deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar, culminating in his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 2020. Shortly after that, he began working at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which houses the U.S. Strategic Command responsible for managing the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The breach underscores the risks posed by individuals who, through their actions, jeopardize the integrity of national defense and intelligence.

Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel of the FBI’s Omaha Field Office emphasized the peril such violations represent to national security.

As the legal process unfolds, Slater’s case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and the potentially devastating consequences of compromising classified information. Slater is expected to make his initial court appearance in Nebraska, facing the severe allegations against him.

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