NATO catfishes own soldiers on Tinder during exercises near Russia

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RIGA, Latvia – NATO soldiers fell into a trap organized by an information security team and went to Tinder meetings with a nonexistent woman, reports Der Tagesspiegel.

According to the newspaper, some NATO soldiers who participated in exercises in Latvia near the Russian border flirted with women in Tinder in their free time.

Allegedly two soldiers left their post one night to meet a woman in violation of the rules.

However, the meeting never happened because the woman’s profile was created by NATO’s Center for Strategic Communications Excellence. The center, based in the Latvian capital Riga, is said to be analyzing the weaknesses of the military and the ways to combat them.

One more experiment

In another test, the communications team launched a website, advertised as a platform designed by and for soldiers. On the site, the military could talk about the army and life in general, as well as buy T-shirts, which required them to disclose their delivery addresses.

The Center for Strategic Communications is headed by Janis Sarts, a former senior official of the Latvian Ministry of Defense, who also represented the country in NATO and the European Union.

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Janis Sarts is reportedly leading a 50-person team that analyzes fake news and develops strategies for winning the psychological war.

“Deception and lies are spreading faster than ever,” said Janis Sarts. “It’s about raising awareness among the population and governments.”

NATO exercises

NATO regularly conducts major international exercises in the Baltic countries, including Latvia. The Saber Strike exercise mobilized some 18,000 military personnel from 19 Allied and Partner countries in June 2018, while the last war games, codenamed Silver Arrow, ended this week and brought together over 3,000 NATO soldiers from 12 countries.

Russia has repeatedly objected to NATO actions on the alliance’s eastern flank, saying it will undermine regional stability and result in new tensions.

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