Potential Targets of Mail-Borne Terrorism

There is no right way to determine with certainty if members of your organization could be potential targets.  The reality is, anyone can be a potential target of terrorism.  Especially now, anyone who is a well known figure could be a target of mail borne threats.  Whether it’s politicians, celebrities, journalists, or employees of a company, the risk of a threat making it through the mail and into your organization is very real.  We live in a highly volatile time right now.  Tensions are running high, and people might feel inclined to take matters into their own hands.

Political Affiliation is an Obvious Flag for Potential Targets
October Letter Bombs - many of these pipe bombs made it through the postal system and to their destination with no issue

Is it Just Famous People that are Potential Targets? Unfortunately, No

One thing that the October letter bombs all had in common is that they were targeting outspoken Democratic representatives.  In short, all of these targets were famous people.  This does not mean that only the most well known people could be potential targets.

One other thing that the letter bombs had in common is that they were all packaged in small envelopes and either hand delivered or shipped through standard mail.  That means that these entered the mail stream with no chain of custody.  For a larger box, the sender would have to go into a Post Office, sign and pay for the postage, and risk being caught on security cameras.  This is what  led to the capture of the Austin, TX mail bomber in March 2018.  This bomber had no known motive for his attacks.  The victims were not linked in any way.

Obviously being a high profile figure increases the likelihood that you are at risk.  Sometimes, however, these attacks are random.  The one thing that you can be certain of is that the mailroom is a glaring weak point in physical security.  It is highly unlikely that any mail you get to your mail room has been screened or scanned.  Therefore, it is imperative to have mail security in mind when considering your organizations physical security.

 

How Can I Protect My Organization?

The first step in protecting your organization is to recognize that you need to think about how you handle your mail.  Reading this post means that you’re already on your way.  You don’t necessarily need to implement sophisticated systems to provide some level of protection.

It’s possible that the person receiving your mail doesn’t currently do more than sorting the incoming mail.  It’s a small difference between sorting mail, and checking the mail before sorting it.  If your mail room employees know what to look for, and simply keep a lookout for suspicious mail, they are already protecting your organization against terrorism.  How well you want to equip these employees is up to you.