View Full Version : Mail Safety

Joseph E. Hale
05-01-1995, 01:33 AM
The following message from IEEE headquarters was forwarded to the faculty at
our institution. I thought this information might be of interest to other
BIOMCH-L subscribers.

----- Forwarded message follows -----

To IEEE Staff and Volunteers:

According to today's news reports, the so-called
"Unibomber," who has been mailing letter bombs around the
U.S. to various people working mainly in technical fields,
has written to The New York Times. In his letter, the
bomber states, "The people we are out to get are the
scientists and engineers, especially in critical fields like
computers and genetics."

It is not our intention to frighten anyone, but it is
critically important to every one of us that we become
especially alert to the potential for such random violence.
With the approval of Dick Schwartz, IEEE Acting General
Manager, we are issuing this advisory to all staff and
volunteers. Further, we ask that each of you forward the
following information to any IEEE employee and/or member who
has not received this e-mail message.

First, DO NOT respond to any request from the news media for
a statement about the Unibomber, violence toward the
technical or engineering professions, or related topics.
(The reporter could, for example, ask for a quote explaining
"because you work for an engineering society and/or are an
engineer.") If you receive such a call, do not give in to
any pressure the reporter might try to use about being "on
deadline." Simply take down the caller's name, phone number
and news organization, and immediately notify Helen Horwitz,
IEEE Corporate Communications Director.
(Phone: 908-562-6821; Fax: 908-981-9511; E-mail:

Second, familiarize yourself and your families with the
following guidelines from the USPS Inspection Service
regarding suspicious packages received in the mail.

A mail bomb may have one or more of the following

* Oil stains on the outside.
* Peculiar odor, protruding wire(s), or foil.
* Overly heavy for its size.
* Weight unevenly distributed.
* Thick and bulging, as if overstuffed.
* Addressed to a prominent official and sent restricted
delivery and/or "eyes only," "personal," "confidential,"
* Title of the recipient may be inaccurate or derogatory.
* Common words misspelled in the address.
* Address may have distorted handwriting, be made from cut &
paste lettering, prepared on a homemade label.
* Usually has stamps; meter strips are easily traced.
* Excessive postage. (A bomb sent to a Federal judge had
this characteristic. Also, the bomb, allegedly sent by
white supremacists, used stamps with a highly patriotic
theme, i.e., flag stamps, Thomas Paine, and the $1 "candle
stick" stamp.")
* No return address, or one unknown to the recipient. (This
is somewhat less valid now, says the US Postal Inspection
Service. Some bombers are sophisticated enough to use
return addresses known to the sender.)

Recommended actions if you suspect a package you have
received is a bomb:

* Do not attempt to open the package.
* Minimize handling, and gently place the item on a stable
* Isolate the package.
* Evacuate the immediate area.
* Do not put the package in water. Water can cause an
* Do not put the item in a confined area, such as a filing
cabinet. The explosive may be powerful enough to blast
the container apart and produce dangerous shrapnel.
* If possible, open windows to vent explosive gasses and
reduce glass shards in case of detonation.
* If you are truly suspicious of any package, do not be
afraid of embarrassment that you may be wrong. Call the
authorities, especially your local Postal Inspector. In
New Jersey, the phone numbers of the Postal Inspection
Office are: 201-596-5405, and a 24-hour number:

Don Curtis
IEEE Human Resources Director

----- End of Forwarded message -----

Joseph E. Hale, Ph.D.
Orthopaedic Biomechanics Lab., Box 374 TEL: 804-924-5989
University of Virginia FAX: 804-924-1691
Charlottesville, VA 22908 USA email: jhale@virginia.edu