Retired Lieutenant Colonel Charged with Leaking Classified Information on Dating Platform

The Kenney Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
The Kenney Gate on Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska after upgrades for security and to provide better protection from the elements (U.S. Air Force photo by Charles Haymond)

A civilian employee at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska was arrested and charged with providing classified information through an online dating app to someone claiming to be a woman in Ukraine, according to federal prosecutors.

David Franklin Slater, a 63-year-old Air Force employee and retired Army lieutenant colonel assigned to U.S. Strategic Command, was arrested Saturday and charged with one count of conspiring to transmit and two counts of transmitting classified information related to the national defense.

The information was shared "on a foreign online dating platform beginning in or around February 2022 until in or around April 2022,” federal officials said in a press release Monday. Slater's exchanges were detailed in the federal indictment but the recipient, referred to as a co-conspirator, was not identified.

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Slater signed a top secret nondisclosure agreement on Aug. 23, 2021, according to the federal indictment, and had undergone numerous training sessions on handling classified materials.

The alleged co-conspirator wrote a message to Slater in March 2022: "Dear, what is shown on the screens in the special room?? It is very interesting."

Then, later that month, the person wrote: "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."

Another conversation happened around April 19, 2022, when the co-conspirator wrote: "Dave, I hope tomorrow NATO will prepare a very unpleasant 'surprise' for Putin! Will you tell me?"

From February 2022 through April 2022, Slater attended classified Strategic Command briefings "regarding Russia's war against Ukraine," federal prosecutors said. With prodding from the co-conspirator, Slater allegedly provided information he had obtained to that person on the online dating platform.

"Slater transmitted classified [national defense information] regarding military targets in Russia's war against Ukraine, and on or about April 13, 2022, [he] transmitted classified [national defense information] regarding Russian military capabilities relating to Russia's invasion of Ukraine,” according to the indictment.

Slater 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 of conspiracy to transmit and the transmission of national defense information, federal prosecutors said in the press release.

The news of Slater's case came the same day that Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira, 22, an Air National Guardsman with the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base who was charged with leaking classified information online, entered a guilty plea in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts.

Teixeira was arrested in early 2023 following long-running leaks on an online platform used by gamers that disclosed classified information about the war in Ukraine and U.S. relations with allies.

He was charged in April with unauthorized retention, removal and transmission of national defense information and classified documents. He faced six counts for the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and remained in jail after having filed an initial plea of not guilty in June.

As part of Teixeira's plea agreement, prosecutors will ask a judge to impose a sentence of no less than 11 months and up to 200 months, or a little more than 16 years -- which could mark one of the stiffest sentences imposed for similar crimes in recent history.

Related: Air National Guardsman Teixeira Pleads Guilty to Leaking Classified Info, Faces Up to 16 Years in Prison

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