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US Air Force employee indicted for leaking classified information about Russia's war

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 5, 2024 5:36 PM 2 min read
The US Flag flies above a sign marking the US Department of Justice (DOJ) headquarters building on Jan. 20, 2024, in Washington, DC. (J. David Ake/Getty Images)
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A civilian employee of the U.S. Air Force assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command was arrested for allegedly disclosing classified information related to Russia's war against Ukraine on an online dating platform, the U.S. Department of Justice reported on March 4.

The arrest follows a leak of a conversation between German Air Force officers about the delivery of Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian troops, which German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius called "a hybrid disinformation attack."

David Franklin Slater, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who was working in a classified space at USSTRATCOM and held a Top Secret security clearance in 2022, attended briefings on Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the department wrote in a press release.

He then allegedly sent classified information from these briefings, including about military targets and Russian military capabilities relating to the Ukraine invasion, to a person who claimed to be a woman living in Ukraine through a dating website.

The co-conspirator regularly asked Slater to provide her with sensitive non-public information and called Slater in her messages her "secret informant love" and "secret agent," according to the department.

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

Slater is set to appear in court on March 5 in Nebraska. If convicted, he may face 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 disclose and the disclosure of information that constitutes a state secret.

Russian media: Moscow summons German ambassador following alleged leaks
The ambassador’s summons is related to an alleged leaked recording of talks between high-ranking German military officials about the possible delivery of Taurus long-range missiles, the agency claims.
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