The Need For Postal Security:
Why is there a need for us to be
more stringent with our mail?
Increased risk of terrorism
Particularly towards the United States, Arab threats have never ceased ever
since the pledge of American support towards Jewish rights. Since the 1980s,
terrorism in the form of plane-hijackings have plagued many American carriers,
particularly TWA on its intra-European routes. The recent spate of US Embassy
bombings in Dhahran, Kenya and Tanzania are only evidence that the threat from
Arab extremists is still ongoing and has become more disturbing with the
availability of modern weaponry. Several incidents of catastrophic mid-air
explosions caused by bombs include Pan Am, UTA and Air India.
The large number of people the
mail has contact with
Mail sorting and delivery have been shown to be labor-intensive processes, and
one piece of mail has to be passed through a countless number of hands before it
arrives at its destination. A potential risk is that small samples of viral
spores e.g. anthrax can be easily sent through mail and easily transmitted to
thousands of postal workers. Viral spores are so small that they can hardly be
seen with the naked eye.
The large volume of mail
The United States Postal Service alone handles 46% of the world's mail which
makes it difficult to be stringent without compromising on efficiency. No doubt
there are postal inspection devices equipped at most major mail sorting centers,
however the latest weaponry has been able to go undetected e.g. viral spores,
radioactive dust. In addition, the large volume makes it very difficult to track
a particular piece of ordinary mail and even more difficult to trace the
identity of the sender.
Convenience of sending mail
With increasing communications and improving technology, the sending of mail has
become a very simple and effectual procedure, so much so it seems more
lucrative to terrorists as a means of attack. The vast airmail network around
the world also gives terrorists more scope for attacks within the comfort of
Sensitive nature of the
Most of the world's international mail is now carried by aircraft. Mail volume
grows proportionally to the increase of air traffic. It is of utmost importance
that the airlines impose strict regulations on the cargo the flight is carrying.
For example, a small letter of virulent tuberculosis spores can be very easily
circulated throughout the entire cabin due to the air-recycling system. The
Valujet crash in the Everglades was a grim warning about the dangers of
To ensure a reliable public
Most importantly, the Postal Service is after all a public service and it is
their commitment to ensure that mail will reach its final destination. It
reflects well on the country's efficiency and reliability if a postal system is
well run without lost mail.
The Need for Postal Security |
Present Postal Hazards | Measures implemented | How
safe is your mail?