ASAP Applauds White House Call for Action to Close Security Gap in Global Postal System
December 21, 2016 (WASHINGTON, DC) – Americans for Securing All Packages (ASAP) applauds the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) and numerous agencies, including the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, for their joint strategic plan announcing that “the time for action is now” to close a dangerous loophole in the global postal system.
Each year, 340 million packages reach the U.S. without important advance electronic security data that allows law enforcement officials to screen and stop high risk packages containing drugs, counterfeit goods and other dangerous materials. Recognizing the health and safety risks posed by this vulnerability, the 2017-2019 U.S. Joint Strategic Plan on IP Enforcement calls for an evaluation of current global postal tracking methods and a study on how the postal system is being used for illicit international trade.
Key takeaways from the report detailing concerns with security gaps in the global postal system include:
· The U.S. border enforcement strategy is incomplete and subject to an unacceptable degree of risk.
· Without a permanent advance targeting data program, law enforcement will continue to have significant difficulty excluding prohibited IPR items shipped through international mail.
· If nations are serious in their resolve to address the growing risk of illicit trade in counterfeit goods, goods that place the health and safety of consumers at risk; jeopardize national security interests; undermine the rule of law; accrue to the benefit of criminal syndicates; and implicate serious ethical and social concerns the time for action is now.
“Lives are at stake. What are we waiting for?” said Gov. Tom Ridge, senior advisor to ASAP. “The IPEC, the Department of State, Homeland Security and other agencies have now clearly acknowledged this pressing risk that has long been identified by national security experts, law enforcement and community leaders. But this acknowledgement needs to be turned into action. President-elect Trump and Congress have clear pathways to close this dangerous pipeline once and for all.”
“The global marketplace has allowed American ingenuity to thrive, but our security measures for international mail still haven’t made it to the 21st Century,” said Juliette Kayyem, senior advisor to ASAP. “How we screen and remove dangerous packages through the global postal system is long overdue for an upgrade. We’re counting on President-elect Trump, his administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to take heed to IPEC’s recommendations to keep Americans safe from toxic packages.”
The strategic plan builds on growing evidence that the global postal loophole poses significant risks to the American public. In September, the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General issued an alert stating that current global postal screening processes “could pose a threat to national security.” Investigative reports from the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal also show that laboratories in China are openly producing toxic and synthetic drugs and selling them online directly through the global postal system.
Legislation to address this security loophole was introduced in September by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). The Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act requires mail shipped by foreign postal services to include electronic security data that would allow law enforcement to track and stop packages containing hazardous and counterfeit materials, including deadly, synthetic drugs. Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) also introduced identical legislation in the House of Representatives.
President-elect Trump also acknowledged the importance of closing the postal loophole in a speech in New Hampshire and stated that his administration would “crack down on the abuse of the loopholes in the Postal Service to literally mail fentanyl and other drugs to users and dealers in the United States.”
About Americans for Securing All Packages
Americans for Securing All Packages (ASAP) is a bipartisan coalition composed of health care advocates, national security experts, businesses and nonprofits who believe it is time for the U.S. government to take action and ensure that all packages being shipped to the United States from any foreign postal service are adequately screened before arriving on the doorsteps of unsuspecting Americans.
Contact: Adriane Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org