Ex-colonel accused of divulging US secrets on foreign dating website

Ex-colonel accused of divulging US secrets on foreign dating website
Ex-colonel accused of divulging US secrets on foreign dating website

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — A retired US Army colonel in Nebraska has been charged with sending classified information to a person through a foreign dating website.

David Franklin Slater, 63, was employed until 2022 by US Strategic Command (Stratcom), which oversees the US nuclear missile arsenal.

He was arrested on Saturday and will appear in court on Tuesday.

Officials say he illegally transmitted documents that "could be used to the injury of the United States".

Charging documents published on Monday say that Slater passed along information he learned from classified Stratcom briefings relating to Russia's invasion of Ukraine to a person he believed to be a woman in Ukraine.

He was frequently asked in message exchanges about US national defence secrets, prosecutors said on Monday.

"Dear, what is shown on the screens in the special room?? It is very interesting," said one message sent on 11 March.

"You are my secret agent. With love," the contact said on 23 March after requesting information about a certain country. Investigators have redacted which specific country the contact was asking about.

"My sweet Dave, thanks for the valuable information," and "you are my secret informant love!" the contact sent in other messages.

The documents do not specify who Slater was contacting or the name of the foreign dating website.

The case was investigated by the FBI and Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

"Certain responsibilities are incumbent to individuals with access to Top Secret information," said US Attorney Susan Lehr for the District of Nebraska.

"The allegations against Slater challenge whether he betrayed those responsibilities."

He is charged with one count of conspiracy and two of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. He faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

It is unclear whether he has hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

The indictment was announced hours after a US airman from the Massachusetts Air National Guard pleaded guilty to six counts of illegally retaining and transmitting national defense information.

Jack Teixeira could face up to 16 years in prison. — BBC

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