Misplaced USB memory stick contained classified information

A misplaced USB memory stick found on a public computer was handed over to the Swedish Armed Forces. The stick contains two classified documents. The Swedish Armed Forces, taking the incident very seriously, has started an investigation.

A misplaced USB memory stick contained classified information. Photo: Anders Sjödén

The daily newspaper, Aftonbladet, turned the stick over to the Armed Forces on Thursday. The paper’s editorial office obtained the memory stick from an individual who discovered it in a public computer center in Stockholm.

An employee of the Armed Forces has reported that the misplaced USB memory stick belongs to him. The employee contacted his superior on Friday and divulged that he had forgotten the memory stick in a public computer. A preliminary technical investigation confirms that the stick belongs to the employee.

The stick contained both unclassified and classified information such as information regarding IED and mine threats in Afghanistan. Other countries, including the US, were also mentioned.

The Armed Forces has strict rules for storing classified information.
– We take this kind of carelessness very seriously. It’s primarily a matter of security for our soldiers. This is also a serious matter from a legal standpoint. Carelessness with regards to classified information is an offense that is punishable by up to six months in prison, says Colonel Bengt Sandström of the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MUST).

The MUST security office has begun to analyze the contents of the memory stick in order to ascertain what the effects, in terms of damage and risk, the incident may have caused.

The Armed Services has also asked the Swedish Security Service to conduct a civil investigation.

On Friday, Colonel Bengt Sandström will meet with the defense attachés from countries mentioned in documents found on the memory stick to inform them of the incident.

According to the Armed Forces’ rules, classified information may be stored on USB memory sticks. However, secret documents are only to be stored on specific, checked-out memory sticks that are subject to supervision or stored in a classified safe.