Intelligence Officer Fired For Misuse Of Classified Stapler

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Mallin, 100th Communications Squadron Information Assurance technician from Hollywood, Fla., assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing IA Office, secures a safe Jan. 28, 2014, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The 100th ARW IA airmen ensure base members have the tools and training they need so they know what to look out for and stay cyber safe. The airmen's daily tasks ensure classified area countermeasures are secure; end-user workstation security, certification and accreditation of the domain; and validating IA controls to reduce vulnerabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Randall/Released)
Sponsored by GovX, which offers deep military discounts on gear, apparel & events – so you can save your money for the important things, like Ripits and tattoos.

FORT HOOD, Texas — A Battalion Intelligence Officer was relieved late last week after he was found misusing a classified stapler in his office, according to Army officials.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Sgt. Dot Weems, a soldier in the battalion S-2 intelligence section. “We were just working like normal, and suddenly the colonel and some other officers were in here. The colonel read the lieutenant something on a sheet of paper, then told him he was relieved. They made him collect his things from his desk and leave right then and there.”

1st Lt. David Howald was fired in person by his battalion commander and escorted from the S-2 office on Monday.

Investigators from the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) were present as well to interview members of the battalion staff. None were taken into custody, but much of the battalion’s classified storage and equipment were dusted for fingerprints, sources said.

“Lieutenant Howald was using a stapler which clearly has a red SECRET label affixed to staple unclassified documents,” said Chief Warrant Officer Hamish Sinclair. “He even left the stapler out on the desk when he left for the day, although the battalion headquarters is not certified for open classified material storage.”

At a press conference, Sinclair held up a clear plastic evidence bag with a light brown Swingline stapler inside, which indeed had a SECRET sticker on it. Sinclair confirmed that Howald was caught multiple times using the SECRET stapler on unclassified documents over the course of an eighteen-month, $12 million dollar sting involving over a dozen undercover operatives embedded in the battalion.

Howald was not arrested, but was advised by CID to remain in the local area for possible further questioning. Once the investigation is complete, Howald may be charged with a crime. For now, he has retained a trial defense counsel but would not comment to reporters.

“I can’t believe the lieutenant is gone,” said Weems. “I guess it just goes to show that anybody can get in trouble for classification issues if they’re not careful. Thank God nobody saw me using the SECRET coffee pot.”

Dark Laughter contributed to this article.

Can you help us? We aren't some gigantic media corporation. Duffel Blog is literally just one guy editing a bunch of articles written by military contributors — all on a shoestring budget. If you love what we do, please donate a few bucks to keep our doors open. Even the smallest amount is a big help.


  1. S H Bishop: I remember having the CLASSIFIED punch cards in the Comm center in the early 80s. We also had Magnetic Tape of different colors with RED Tape being the highest classification that could be sent from out comm center with out having to be OFFLINE Encoded. Also the destruction of the chad from the classified paper tape messages and from the punch cards……WoW all this before E-mail……..

  2. Back in the 1980s 2nd MarDiv Counter-Intel tried to bust me for having a punch-card on my desk that said ‘SECRET.’ My Colonel asked me about it and I told him it was used to make the word ‘SECRET’ appear on the top and bottom of a classified database that I managed using punch-cards. That punch-card was the computerized version of a rubber stamp that said, ‘SECRET.’ My Colonel told Counter-Intel to go pound sand.

  3. Whew! Good thing I didn’t get caught using the FOUO toilet that time I followed it up with the Confidential T-paper – think it happened while TDY at Camp Flushing Meadows…

army private

Private Sporting ‘Infantry’ T-Shirt Fully Prepared For ‘Miles Of Pussy’

Ex-JCS Chair Dempsey Replaces Bulls’ Point Guard Derrick Rose