(USNews) It’s no surprise that with about a half-million employees, some U.S. Postal Service workers are enticed by the prospect of free marijuana when the drug’s telltale odor seeps from a package. But when the postal service inspector general's office looked into the handling of such packages at seven facilities across the country, it found few safeguards to prevent internal theft. At one facility, management was unable to explain why a cage used to store suspected pot mail had its lock broken. At another, the suspect packages were left in an unlocked office. At a third, they sat unguarded on a table. The audit, completed in October after on-site visits early this year, comes amid high-profile instances of postal workers stealing drug mail or using their positions to profit from it. An Illinois postal worker was charged with knowingly delivering pot mail in September, busted by a tip to the postal inspector general. In May, two workers were charged with stealing drugs from at least 16 packages at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. And in the nation’s capital, three workers were accused in August of taking bribes to deliver pot. A public web posting last month noted the audit report’s existence but said it would not be released “due to concerns that some of the information was sensitive and thus protected under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).” Indeed, the document was thoroughly redacted when offered to U.S. News following a FOIA request. The ratio of withheld content rivals censorship of FBI notes on the Hillary Clinton email investigation and legal reasoning on killing Americans with drones. Three FOIA redaction codes are applied to text of the document. One claims protection of law enforcement investigations, another protection of individual safety. But the most common code is a catch-all specific to USPS that protects “information of a commercial nature, including trade secrets, whether or not obtained from a person outside the Postal Service, which under good business practice would not be publicly disclosed.” Shocking tales of workers taking home marijuana – should they exist – are covered by yellow redaction boxes.
on November 18th, 2016