Terrorism: October 12, 2002


In the days and weeks after 11 Sept 01, the US Postal Service found and held dozens of letters and packages addressed to Osama bin Laden or other known terrorists in Afghanistan. But rules are rules and laws are laws; it takes "probable cause" to get a warrant to open mail once it's in the US Postal Service. After much agonizing and courtroom motions, the mail was sent on to him via normal channels, at least until military operations started. Congress acted quickly to change the rules, so now the mere fact that mail is addressed to a known or suspected terrorists is grounds to have it opened and read by the Postal Inspectors and the FBI.--Stephen V Cole


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