Retired Army Officer Sent Classified Info to ‘Ukrainian Woman’ on Dating Site

"Beloved Dave, do NATO and Biden have a secret plan to help us," someone posing as a Ukrainian woman asked David Franklin Slater on a dating site. “Sweet Dave, the supply of weapons is completely classified, which is great!”

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Retired Army Officer Sent Classified Info to ‘Ukrainian Woman’ on Dating Site

If the Cut showed us anything in February, it’s that there’s nothing the internet mouth-waters over like a twisted scam story. So please enjoy the following saga of a middle-aged ex-military man appearing to be conned out of some pretty high-level information by someone on a dating app.

Over the weekend, a retired army officer named David Franklin Slater, 63, was arrested after being accused of illegally disclosing sensitive national defense information on a foreign dating site to a woman who claimed to be Ukrainian, per documents obtained by CBS. Slater retired from the Army in 2020 and most recently worked as a civilian Air Force employee assigned to the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) until 2022. In this role, he had a Top Secret Security clearance, according to the filings, and received training for the proper handling of sensitive government information, in addition to an NDA in 2021.

Welp, it’s safe to say that training does not seem to have worked. In the messages Slater exchanged with the unnamed person on the dating site, the person refers to Slater as her “secret agent” and “secret informant love,” among other affectionate little nicknames that seem to have worked their charm on Slater. “Beloved Dave, do NATO and Biden have a secret plan to help us?” the person wrote to Slater in March 2022. They also asked, “Dear, what is shown on the screens in the special room?? It is very interesting.”

“My sweet Dave, thanks for the valuable information, it’s great that two officials from the USA are going to Kyiv,” an April 14, 2022 message said to Slater.

And, according to the documents charging Slater, he specifically offered this individual details about military targets related to the Ukraine-Russia conflict and Russian military capabilities. Whoops! According to the Guardian, Slater and the unnamed individual exchanged messages on the dating site between February and April 2022.

I don’t know much about espionage and what happens when a U.S. military official shares classified information online with someone who sounds a lot like a Russian spy. But my guess would be… nothing good! At the very least, there are far less funny ways this could have happened, like through a cyber hack or hostage situation or whatnot. Instead, whoever was catfishing “Sweet Dave” as a hot Ukrainian gal with a sustained interest in “what is shown on the screens in the special room” really put on a show for us. 

If this leads to the resurgence of the Cold War or something even more sinister, just think of all the middle school students who will inevitably have to pore through their textbooks in a decade or two, memorizing the facts of “Beloved Dave” and his unnamed dating app agent’s sexts. This specific history class could also double as an abstinence-only sex ed lesson to impress upon the youths the dangerous paths down which horniness can take us. 

Indeed, Slater could attest to that more than most: If he’s found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison (with 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 against him. His first court appearance takes place on Tuesday in Nebraska. 

I have to say, I’m intrigued by where this could all go. Should Slater be sentenced to prison time, I imagine that within a day behind bars, a female, Ukrainian pen pal will write to him, perhaps from a P.O. box in Russia, and who knows what he’ll disclose to “her.”

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