Classified documents via Registered Mail?

So I am on another wiki link clicking adventure and happened upon the US Postal Service page. I noticed that Department of Defense classified documents, up to the SECRET level, are sent via Registered Mail.

So, are the envelopes marked classified or something?

If they are marked classified, what is to stop some nefarious person from mimicing whatever method is used and sending do-bad things via the mail?

What happens if a piece of this mail happens to get mutilated?

Here is the link to the Wiki article

They are double wrapped, with no markings on the outer package other than the address. The inner package is properly marked for classification and addressed as well.

Trust me, if you get a classified package in the mail, you are expecting it. A package arriving with no prior notice would raise some suspicions.

From the article, it is handled separately every step of the way and all actions recorded in a ledger. Any mutilation would be noticed and taken care of promptly, most likely by re-wrapping and sending it along to the next stop.

If you don’t tell everyone handling the envelope, who is to know what’s inside? Since each registered piece of mail must be accounted for every step of the way from sender to receiver, it should be rather difficult, if not approaching impossible, for it to get folded, spindled or mutilated, let alone lost.

Anecdote - A certain meat packing plant (whose name shall remain nameless but think of the song about bologna) used to move its cash payroll via registered mail, instead of private courier or armoured car. It was considerably cheaper and more secure.

The Hope Diamond was sent to the Smithsonian by mail…

Excellent, thanks!

Yes. The mail I got from the FBI about a year ago was one of the cleanest envelopes I’d ever seen outside of the box of envelopes in my desk drawer. And that was just something classed as U//FOUO (Unclassified, For Official Use Only, previously called SBU or Sensitive but Unclassified.

This reminds me of the Secret/SAR program I worked on that installed an unmonitored outgoing mail drop inside a controlled facility right next to the unmonitored copy machines.

No registered mail there. Sheesh.

At least I made sure that didn’t last long.

I spent one summer back in the 70’s working as a bank teller in Maine. There are lots of Canadian tourists here in the summer. Each week the local bank would end up with between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in Canadian currency that needed to be repatriated to Canada as the Federal Reserve wouldn’t deal with foreign currency.

Each week we packed a duffel bag with the wrapped Canadian bills, brought it down to the local Post Office and sent it registered mail to a correspondent bank in Canada for redemption. Cost about $25. if I remember right. Always amazed me to see the little Post Office jeep driving down the road with it’s million dollar load.

Like has been said, Registered Mail is the preferred choice for sending valuables. And honestly, secrets are much less tempting to steal than a diamond ring.

I knew foreign students who would send money back home by mailing a single $100 bill in a first class envelope. If they wanted to send more, they’d send multiple envelopes. The fraction of a percent fee is much less than wiring money via other methods and nearly as secure.