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Package Study Sets Spotlight On Post Service Screening: NPR



One of the bomb bombs sent to a critic of President Trump is shown. Experts say that excessive postage is a key mark for a suspicious package.

FBI via Getty Images


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FBI via Getty Images

As the hunt intensifies to try to find out who sent at least 1

0 potentially explosive devices to the Democrats and critics of President Trump around the country, another important question is: how exactly were the dangerous packages sent?

The FBI and US Army Survey Army, the US Post Inspection Service, both denied Thursday to confirm to NPR how the packages reached the destinations they were caught on.

But a look at where they were intercepted indicates that at least seven out of 10 were handled by the postal service. For example, two of the packages addressed to Joe Biden were found in Delaware post offices. The package addressed to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was intercepted in Secret Service post screening centers.

Delivery methods are still unclear for the packages addressed to Robert De Niro and CNN, both received in Manhattan, and the package addressed to and received at George Soros' home, in Westchester County, NY

"I'm coming no matter where we think the packages came from, "said FBI's deputy director of Charge William Sweeney, chief of the New York Field Office. "Some were delivered by mail system."

Why would pipe bombs could travel some distance through all the posts?

This answer is still unclear.

USPS has screening processes in place. In a statement, the service said that it uses a combination of "specialized technology, screening protocols and employee training."

But specifically, the US Postal Inspection Service website says "the overwhelming volume of mail does not allow the postal service to shield each piece."

When it comes to spitting the seven packages in question, mail weighing more than 13 ounces should not be delivered with stamps only and anonymous departure; A person who hopes to send such a package must go to a post office and interact with a USPS employee. It is not clear if the bombing weighed more than 13 grams.

While most packages were caught in transit, at least one, to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Delivered successfully on Wednesday. The package was originally addressed to former attorney Eric Holder, but Schultz's office was listed as a return address.

It was delivered there, and her office was evacuated. Schultz said she was "deeply disturbed by the way I used."

Anthony May, former bomb technician for the presidium for alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives said that the outside of the packages had obvious red flags that mail workers should look for, including too much postage and misspelled names. 19659006] "If there are too big stamps on it, the post office is not meant to deliver it," said May.

Danger in context

While bombs are not usually sent to such high-profile targets, USPIS is investigating an average of 16 post bombs annually.

"By contrast, the postal service claims over 170 billion pieces of mail each year," USPIS says on a part of its website dedicated to email bombing. "It means in the last few years that the chances of a piece of mail actually contain a bomb average far less than one of 10 billion!"

In the 2017 fiscal year, the agency opened 19 investigations related to "suspicious drugs and objects," which includes bombs, explosives and chemical weapons. The agency made 11 arrests and received 20 penalties.

There are no indications at this time that the postal service plans to make any policy changes in the short or long term related to suspicious packages.

A spokesman for the US Post Workers Union told the NPR that although much of the media attention this week has been focused on the public numbers the packages were addressed to, it is often forgotten that workers are at risk too.

Two postmen died in 2001 when anthrax was sent through the post, a crime that may have been committed by Army biologist Bruce Ivins.

"The reality is that there are many people along the way," said the APWU spokesman. "They are all at risk here too."


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