Relationship red flags exist.
Sometimes they manifest through anger outbursts, substance abuse or infidelity indicators.
And other times, a man pretends to be a CIA agent to impress a woman he’s developed an eye for, informing her she is "the target of a terrorist organization and that her life was in danger,” and that “if she did not follow his directions, she would be seriously injured or killed.”
And they say chivalry is dead.
That was the language in a police complaint against New York Air National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Ryan Houghtalen, 25, who was arrested Monday and charged with misdemeanor second degree criminal impersonation of a public servant, according to Syracuse.com.
He was released one day after his arrest, the report said.
Houghtalen met the woman at church, the report said. Once he was adequately acquainted, he allegedly showed her a fake CIA badge prior to dropping a bombshell about the threat on her life.
“He was telling her his job as a CIA agent is very dangerous,” Trooper Jack Keller, a New York state police spokesman, told Syracuse.com. “He was hoping to use that information to start a relationship with her.”
Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for 'em.
“He stated ISIS was after him and because she knew him, that her life might be in danger too,” Keller added. “She became nervous and upset because he convinced her her life may be in danger.”
With the woman understandably rattled, Houghtalen instructed her "to stop talking to people, stay at home, and not call the police,” the report said.
Police were subsequently notified and he was taken into custody.
Houghtalen is a sensor operator on the MQ-9 reaper drone with the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing, based at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, a Guard spokesman told Syracuse.com.
A LinkedIn page allegedly belonging to Houghtalen claims he is an airman who is “skilled in Microsoft Excel, Management, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Leadership.”
So, when a need arises to create a dazzling PowerPoint presentation that can teach troops about synergy — and for 14 hours straight — you know who to call.
Punishment is likely to be handed down by the New York Air National Guard, the spokesman said, though no specifics were provided.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.