An Army intelligence agent based at Fort Meade, Md., has been missing for 10 days from his Springfield home, police say.

Master Sgt. Joseph Paul Lattanzi, 46, disappeared Sept. 14, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court Thursday by Virginia state police.

Lattanzi, who has a top-secret clearance, is a special agent for military intelligence.

State police searched the Lattanzi house Thursday at the request of military intelligence officials and Lattanzi's wife Barbara, who is living in Texas with the couple's two teen-aged children.

In the affidavit, police said Lattanzi's wife was concerned that her husband "has either met with foul play or has hurt himself because of his extreme mental depression."

State police officials had no comment on the progress of their investigation.

"We're assuming he's AWOL. I don't think anyone's forming any ideas at this point," said Faith Fair- cloth, a spokeswoman at Fort Meade for the Intelligence and Security Command.

Lattanzi was to join his family in Texas this fall after retiring from the Army on Dec. 1, according to the affidavit. But state police said in the affidavit that Lattanzi had not informed his supervisor of plans to retire.

"Lattanzi has top-secret clearance and holds the rank of E-8 in the U.S. Army," state police Investigator R.L. Marshall wrote in the affidavit. "His work is extremely sensitive, and necessity for constant contact or scheduled absence is mandatory."

State police said in the affidavit that military intelligence officials asked them to help search for Lattanzi.

Lattanzi's rank suggests that he is a technician and not a high-ranking official at Fort Meade, where the National Security Agency is headquartered, said Joseph Gould, public affairs officer for the Center for Defense Information in Washington.

But Gould said Lattanzi "could be very close to significant classified material." He said NSA is the agency charged with listening to and decoding electronic communications throughout the world.

"The wife stated that she had suggested to Joseph Paul Lattanzi that he seek professional counseling because of his depression," the affidavit said.

She told state police her husband had been "in a real state" for the past several months. Military intelligence officials told state police that Lattanzi had been under "extreme pressure in both his personal and professional life."

Barbara Lattanzi last heard from her husband on Sept. 14 when he telephoned her, the affidavit said.

Joseph Lattanzi said during the call that he was depressed and that he was going to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the grave of a friend killed in the Vietnam War, she said.

State police said a search of the those areas failed to reveal any information.