39 CFR 233.11 - Mail reasonably suspected of being dangerous to persons or property.
(a) Screening of mail. When the Chief Postal Inspector determines that there is a credible threat that certain mail may contain a bomb, explosives, or other material that would endanger life or property, including firearms which are not mailable under Section C024 of the Domestic Mail Manual, the Chief Postal Inspector may, without a search warrant or the sender's or addressee's consent, authorize the screening of such mail by any means capable of identifying explosives, nonmailable firearms, or other dangerous contents in the mails. The screening must be within the limits of this section and without opening mail that is sealed against inspection or revealing the contents of correspondence within mail that is sealed against inspection. The screening is conducted according to these requirements.
(1) Screening of mail authorized by paragraph (a) of this section must be limited to the least quantity of mail necessary to respond to the threat.
(2) Such screening must be done in a manner that does not avoidably delay the screened mail.
(3) The Chief Postal Inspector may authorize screening of mail by postal employees and by persons not employed by the Postal Service under such instruction that require compliance with this part and protect the security of the mail. No information obtained from such screening may be disclosed unless authorized by this part.
(4) Mail of insufficient weight to pose a hazard to air or surface transportation, or to contain firearms which are not mailable under Section C024 of the Domestic Mail Manual, and international transit mail must be excluded from such screening.
(5) After screening conducted under paragraph (a) of this section, mail that is reasonably suspected of posing an immediate and substantial danger to life or limb, or an immediate and substantial danger to property, may be treated by postal employees as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.
(6) After screening, mail sealed against inspection that presents doubts about whether its contents are hazardous, that cannot be resolved without opening, must be reported to the Postal Inspection Service. Such mail must be disposed of under instructions promptly furnished by the Inspection Service.
(b) Threatening pieces of mail. Mail, sealed or unsealed, reasonably suspected of posing an immediate danger to life or limb or an immediate and substantial danger to property may, without a search warrant, be detained, opened, removed from postal custody, and processed or treated, but only to the extent necessary to determine and eliminate the danger and only if a complete written and sworn statement of the detention, opening, removal, or treatment, and the circumstances that prompted it, signed by the person purporting to act under this section, is promptly forwarded to the Chief Postal Inspector.
(c) Reports. Any person purporting to act under this section who does not report his or her action to the Chief Postal Inspector under the requirements of this section, or whose action is determined after investigation not to have been authorized, is subject to disciplinary action or criminal prosecution or both.