How the White House and Other Federal Agencies Use USPS to Send Classified Material

But while Trump has described the U.S. Postal Service as a “joke,” a “laughing stock” and a “stupidly run organization,” incapable of administering vote by mail without significant delays or combatting unevidenced voter fraud, other government agencies and bodies regularly entrust classified material to the USPS.

An operating manual provided to the Department of Defense outlines policies regarding the U.S. Postal Service typical of many government agencies that deal in classified information.

While materials classified as TOP SECRET—a designation intended for material that a 1982 Executive Order defined as risking “exceptionally grave damage” to national security (though overclassification is rampant)—isn’t transmitted via standard postal services, both SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL materials are commonly sent by USPS Registered and Express mail.

For agencies that fall under the purview of the National Industrial Security Program, which manages private industry’s access to sensitive materials, all classified documents are packaged in both inner and outer covers prior to mailing, with the inner envelope sealed and “plainly marked” with the assigned classification. There is no indication on the outer envelope that classified information is contained within, and documents are addressed to an organizational title or classified mailing address, rather than any individual’s name.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hello, I have placed several dozen FOIA Requests through the DTIC RSC over the last four years. In a number of cases, DTIC has mailed the classified or unclassified/limited documents to invalid addresses. I know the addresses are invalid because I checked with the intended recipient after not receiving an acknowledgement letter from the intended recipient; I know the intended recipient because DTIC informs me via their own acknowledgement letter. Once I have established the correct address, I inform DTIC and they resend the documents to the correct address. I have also had this same problem with DOD FOIA Offices.… Read more »


Last edited 2 years ago by Thomas Cuff