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Suspicious Package Safety Procedures, Continued Vigilance and Situational Awareness

Based on several incidents that have occurred since January 6th, the Office of Security provides the below unclassified summary of events regarding recent mail packages that have contained explosives received in the Washington and Annapolis areas, and the AZ tragedy on Saturday.  

Regarding the incendiary mail incidents, one package was addressed to a Federal Government office while two other small packages were addressed to the Maryland Governor’s Mansion in Annapolis, Maryland, and to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) in Hanover, Maryland.  These two exploded upon being opened on 6 January 2011.  Both packages were of unknown origin and contained identical notes and incendiary devices. Attached are basic guidelines that office mail handlers and mail room operators should follow everyday, and now would be a good time to review these guidelines.

Also, on January 7th, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to a report of an incendiary device at the U.S. Postal Service located at 3300 V St. NE, Washington, DC.  That incident is currently under investigation.

Unrelated to these incidents, the tragic shootings in Tucson, AZ resulted in six killed and fourteen wounded on January 8th involving Congresswoman Giffords, a member of her staff, a federal judge and 17 others is a reminder we must remain vigilant and alert to our surroundings.   Anytime someone sees or hears something that is suspicious, especially if it involves the security or safety of our personnel, should report the circumstances immediately to their supervisor, and then to their Office of Security point of contact.  In addition, anyone may call (202) 482-2452 to report an incident to the Office of Security Investigations and Intelligence Office.

Please see the attached documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service related to the recent and on going mail packages referenced above.  The training documents should be disseminated and personnel reminded to (1) promote and follow safe mail handling procedures in accordance with the attached Hazardous Information Training Sheet, and (2) share the attached Suspicious Mail Alert poster as appropriate.

Questions or requests for assistance should be passed on to the Office of Security representative.

Safe Mail Handling Procedures

Mail Handling Poster


US Department of Commerce, Office of Security, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230
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