Terrorists remain interested in exploiting postal and commercial shipping companies to conduct or support attacks in the United States. Publicity surrounding the more than 40,000 incidents involving unknown or suspicious substances related to the U.S. Mail since 2001 likely reinforces violent extremists’ belief that the postal sector is a useful mechanism for conducting an attack, as it demonstrates that mail containing potentially harmful substances can be delivered without arousing suspicion or being discovered until the recipient opens the letter or package.
Safe Mail Handling Procedures. It is important that every employee handling or receiving mail can identify a suspicious letter or parcel. Although occurrences are extremely rare, it is essential to know what to do when suspicious mail is received. All staff must remain alert for the tell-tale signs of potentially dangerous mail and packages.
ATF Letter and Package Bomb Detection Techniques Brochure from August 1996.
These objectives describe the kinds of information that terrorists monitor when planning an attack. Identity of places where further surveillance can take place. Identity of places where countersurveillance can be detected.
The Postal and Shipping Sector receives, processes, transports, and distributes billions of letters and parcels annually. It consists of both private and public components. The Postal and Shipping Sector is mainly composed of four large integrated carriers. These carriers, operating 93% of the sector’s assets, systems, networks, and functions, are the United States Postal Service (USPS), United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS), Federal Express (FedEx), and DHL International (DHL).