back to article US accuses Army vet cyber-Casanova of sharing Russia-Ukraine war secrets

Yet another US military man is facing a potentially significant stretch in prison after allegedly sending secret national defense information (NDI) overseas. David Franklin Slater, 63, was indicted on Monday and faces three counts of conspiracy to disclose NDI. On the same day, Pentagon documents leaker Jack Teixeira also …

  1. YetAnotherXyzzy

    I too used to hold a Top Secret clearance from Uncle Sam, and back then I was single and socially active. The vast majority of the ladies had no interest whatsoever in NDI and probably wouldn't have been in a position to formulate intelligent questions about it. So when a lady was able to formulate such questions (yes, it happened occasionally) that stood out pretty obviously and I would report it immediately to the security staff. So from personal experience I find it hard to believe this guy's claim to be an innocent fool.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      innocent fool => guilty tool ?

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Nebraska

      The fact that he "seemed" to think there are no available real women in Nebraska (pop ~2M) is telling.

  2. Zibob Bronze badge

    And didn't even get to try it.

    That's some expensive "personal services". A fine and jail time over some skin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And didn't even get to try it.

      No guarantee it was the woman he thought it was.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Just for curious...

    What happens in the US if you're fined significantly more than your assets (I don't know how much cash the miscreant has in the bank, or what happens to his pension, but I'm guessing nothing much and nothing good respectively).

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Just for curious...

      Depends on your skin colour and who you know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Depends more on the cause of your fines

        Some debt obligations can still be discharged in bankruptcy, and there are some limits on what assets can be seized.

        Others can be very hard to get out from under, child support and tax liens being particularly brutal. by design.

        Though as the other poster pointed out, rich people will figure out how to transfer most of their assets before the penalty is assessed, and their lawyer will ensure that things like their car and house are shielded, possibly including insurance and retirement funds.

        Those that can't afford 10,000-20,000 in legal fees(disproportionately brown people like me) may have even protected assets seized if they can't raise the proper legal defense on their own. The government doesn't care about being just or fair, and in civil asset cased the burden of proof is reversed leading to a mountain of what amounts to be theft on the part of the government.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Depends more on the cause of your fines

          That all sounds weirdly Soviet.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Depends more on the cause of your fines

          To be fair, all of that is AFTER being found guilty and the fine assigned. So long as the person really was guilty (that's a big if), then collecting the fine by seizing assets seems quite fair. Though seizing the things needed to continue to make a living (and thus keep paying off the fine) would appear to be counterproductive.

  4. GBE

    I wonder how he got caught

    It's obvious how you get caught posting classified info to a public forum (like Jack Teixeira). But none of the articles I've seen about Slater mention how he ended up getting caught. Presumably the "Ukrainian woman" with which he was corresponding didn't turn him in.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how he got caught

      I'm assuming that despite being a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel he's thick as pig shit and boasted about the "hot Ukrainian" he had as a girlfriend and was turned in.

  5. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Facepalm

    There is nothing dumber than a man with an erection -- proverb in probably every language and culture, ever

    1. Mark 65

      Maybe an old man who thinks he be getting some, as a subset of the above.

  6. Binraider Silver badge

    It's not like the consequences of breaking data confidentiality rules aren't published. Loads of jobs in the UK require you to not merely be governed by the official secrets act, but to physically sign onto it.

    I could be optimistic and speculate that there's the possibility it was being leaked accidentally on purpose and he's just a fall guy.

    There is also the well known phenomenon of data being classified way above what it needs to be out of caution; a practice which has been blamed on repeated intelligence failures because you can't put two-and-two together if you don't know two.

    It's somewhat surprising that such cases are so common. But when you consider what "real" failures like the Walker spy ring brought about...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I remember having to carefully copy something in the 'secret' safe at an MoD establishment in the 80's.

      It was an Australian air enthusiast magazine showing a Getty Images (IIRC) picture of a scale test version of the soviet space shuttle bing lifted out of the Indian ocean onto a 'fishing trawler'.

    2. YetAnotherXyzzy

      All that you describe is the case in the US as well, or at least was in I was in the belly of the beast. Part of obtaining a security clearance is getting The Talk and signing an affidavit. There were periodic refresher talks, though those I had were agency-specific. And upon separation there was another talk and another affidavit to sign which was more or less an NDA.

      Yes, I saw a lot of over-classification. Before I saw it myself I believed the commonly held opinion that it was due to craven functionaries practicing CYA, but upon seeing the process it turned out to be merely misaligned incentives. There is no incentive to ask "what is the lowest classification this really needs?" but there is a very high incentive to ask "might I be prosecuted if I innocently fail to recognize some subtle reason why this should have been classified higher?" The answer to the latter question is always yes, so there you go.

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