Pipe Bombs Delivered by Mail Remind Us to Be Vigilant

On Tuesday, October 23, a pipe bomb was delivered to the mailbox of George Soros at his Westchester County, New York home. Additionally, U.S. Secret Service agents discovered an explosive device on the evening of October 23, addressed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Westchester County residence.

suspicious mail

On Wednesday, October 24, the U.S. Secret Service intercepted another device addressed to the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, in Washington D.C. According to the U.S. Secret Service, the packages to Clinton and Obama were immediately identified as potential explosive devices during routine mail screening procedures and were appropriately handled as such. An additional fourth viable package has been discovered at CNN headquarters located at the Time Warner Building in New York City.

All of the devices were delivered in weighty large manila envelopes with the addresses in block type and the same number of American flag stamps.

What mail screening practices are in-place at your workplace? Would you know how to recognize a suspicious letter or package delivered to your office or home? T&M’s security consulting experts remind everyone to be vigilant and know the indicators of a suspect piece of mail – and what to do if you think you detect one.

Be wary of mail or packages that are unexpected or from an unknown sender. In addition, use extreme caution if the item has any of the following characteristics:

  • No return address
  • Restrictive markings, such as “Personal” or “To Be Opened by Addressee Only”
  • Sealed with tape
  • Misspelled words or words that are hastily written or in all caps
  • Addressed to a title only, such “CEO” (absence of an individual’s name)
  • Excessive postage
  • Stained, discolored, emitting an odor/powder/liquid or an otherwise soiled envelope or packaging
  • Rigid or bulky, lopsided or uneven envelope or package
  • Protruding wires

If a piece of mails demonstrates any of these signs, immediately:

  • STOP. Do not further handle the item! Do not open the item!
  • Set the item down carefully if you are holding it.
  • Isolate the item - evacuate people from the area and keep them away.
  • If the item is in a room with a door, close the door after exiting.
  • Follow your company’s protocols for suspicious mail handling. If you do not know your company’s protocol or if your company does not have one, call 911 and report the incident.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

For assistance developing your company’s mail screening procedures and protocols for responding to a suspected suspicious piece of mail or for awareness training for your staff, contact T&M’s security consulting experts for a complimentary consultation.

Interested in learning more? Request a 15-minute consultation today!