Ex-U.S. Army Officer Accused Of Sharing Ukraine War Intelligence On Dating Site Pleads Not Guilty

By Mike Eckel, alumnus of The Fletcher School and Senior News Correspondent

A retired U.S. Army officer has pleaded not guilty to charges that he shared classified intelligence with a woman claiming to be from Ukraine, using e-mail and an online dating platform to send information that included Russian military targets in Ukraine.

David Slater entered the plea in federal court in Nebraska on March 5 in the latest in a series of embarrassing disclosures and leaks of classified U.S. intelligence, some of it concerning Russia’s ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine and U.S. support for Kyiv.

The federal public defender who represented Slater at the hearing didn’t comment on the case, but the judge ordered Slater to hire his own attorney after reviewing financial documents indicating he owns several rental homes in Nebraska and a property in Germany.

The judge also confirmed during the hearing that Slater no longer has access to classified information, but it was not clear if that mean he lost his job.

U.S. prosecutors said on March 4 that Slater, a retired lieutenant colonel, was working as a civilian employee at U.S. Strategic Command, when he allegedly began an online relationship with a woman on a “foreign dating platform.” U.S. Strategic Command oversees U.S. nuclear arsenals, among other things.

It’s unclear whether Slater, 63, ever physically met the woman, who prosecutors said identified herself as Ukrainian.

In a series of e-mails and chats on the unnamed dating site between February and April 2022, the woman sent messages asking Slater specific questions about U.S. intelligence on Russia’s invasion.

“Dear, what is shown on the screens in the special room?? It is very interesting,” the woman texted Slater around March 11, 2022, according to the unsealed indictment.

“By the way, you were the first to tell me that NATO members are traveling 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 texted Slater days later.

“Beloved Dave, do NATO and Biden have a secret plan to help us?” the woman wrote on March 18.

“You are my secret agent. With love,” the woman allegedly wrote a week later.

The indictment does not quote any e-mails or messages authored by Slater, who was expected to be released on March 6 on the condition that he surrenders his passport, submits to GPS monitoring, and remains in Nebraska.

If convicted at trial, Slater faces up to 10 years in federal prison on each of the three counts laid out in the indictment.

A series of leaks of classified U.S. data on Ukraine and other issues have embarrassed the U.S. intelligence community and stirred doubts among U.S. allies sharing closely held information.

On March 4, a man who served in the U.S. Air National Guard unit pleaded guilty to leaking highly classified military documents about the Ukraine war and other U.S. national security secrets.

Jack Teixeira, 22, admitted to obtaining the information while he worked as an information technology specialist, and then sharing it with other users on Discord, a social media platform popular with online gamers.

The leaks, which included information about troop movements in Ukraine and the provision of U.S. equipment to Ukrainian troops, were seen as highly embarrassing for the Pentagon; more than a dozen military personnel were reprimanded in the subsequent investigation.

(This post is republished from RFERL.)

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