Suspicious Packages Prompt Nationwide Security Response

Suspicious Packages Prompt Nationwide Security Response

The wave of suspicious packages appears to be the biggest threat of a mail-based terror plot since the Anthrax attacks in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, which killed five people.

[UPDATED Oct. 26, 2018, 8:24 a.m.]

Apparent package bombs sent to prominent political figures and a news organization Wednesday, Thursday and Friday have mailrooms strengthening their mail screening procedures. The wave of suspicious packages appears to be the biggest threat of a mail-based terror plot since the Anthrax attacks in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, which killed five people.

Since Wednesday morning, the FBI has intercepted multiple manila envelopes containing an explosive device. The suspicious packages have been addressed to the following:

  • Philanthropist George Soros
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Former President Barack Obama
  • CNN/Former CIA Director John Brennan
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder (This package was returned to the sender, had been labeled as Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Actor Robert De Niro
  • Sen. Cory Booker
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

The attacks have led the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies to step up their procedures for mail-screening. In the agency’s annual report, USPS said it responded to 2,282 suspicious packages in the U.S. last year.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service did not comment on how it detects bombs sent through the mail, because it would “compromise the effectiveness of our investigative methods.”

According to security experts, mailrooms should look for signs of a suspicious package: too much postage, a missing or fake return address, or demands that the package be opened only by a specific person.

For example, several of the packages discovered Wednesday had the return address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former head of the Democratic National Committee, and at least one was rerouted to her office in Florida.

Mail addressed to government agencies is often screen off-site before delivery. All mail addressed to ZIP codes 20201 (the Department of Health and Human Service) through 20599 (the Presidential Inaugural Committee) is irradiated to kill off potential biological attacks.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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