A bomb or other terrorist device may be delivered to the intended victim by mail or in a package. Certain clues are commonly found and may allow for detection of the device prior to detonation. However, a clever, rational bomber may not leave any clues that can be easily detected.


Features to look at:

(1) postage

(2) addressee

(3) other findings


Postage - one or more of the following:

(1) stamps rather than metering (a postal worker might recognize the person sending)

(2) excessive postage

(3) foreign postage

(4) foreign cancellation stamp



(1) wrong title

(2) misspelled name or address

(3) poorly typed or written

(4) designated "confidential", "personal", or "only to be opened by" a specific person



(1) return address absent or in error

(2) excessive tape, string or other closure

(3) strange odors

(4) symbolic messages

(5) similarities shared with other bombs if a serial bomber is involved



• The motive will affect the type of bomb and its packaging. A terrorist may not be interested in targeting a particular person.

• The demented or psychotic bomber may leave additional symbolic clues.

• The nationality, training and social background will help determine how informed the bomber is about the customs of the recipients culture.


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