Pipe Bombs Scare Raises New Concerns About Postal Screening, Mail Safety

While the Postal Service intercepted some of the packages in this week’s scare, the developments underscored the limitations of the screening technology in use.

A spate of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats around the country has raised fresh questions about the ability of the U.S. Postal Service and private delivery companies to intercept explosives and other dangerous items.

Biohazard detection, X-rays and other technologies have had some notable successes in recent years, but officials warn that the sheer volume of mail makes it impossible to catch everything.

“The public should not have the impression that all of our mail is screened like going through security at the airport,” said David Chipman, a retired agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “That’s not the case, and we know that from a string of cases.”

While two packages addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden were intercepted at postal facilities in Delaware on Thursday, a pipe bomb addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder made it so far into the mail stream that it was returned to its purported sender: the Sunrise, Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose name was on the return address. (There is no suggestion Wasseran Schultz had any involvement.)


Read more…
Source: NBC New York