Wednesday, Tucker Carlson told his audience that a bundle of important documents was stolen during shipment. There are many shipping companies, and Tucker Carlson was clear not to declare the offending company. However, the next day, UPS identified that their company lost the bundle. What happened to the bundle of documents? Some legitimate questions still need answers.
All successful business organizations follow processes. Utilizing proven processes that are duplicatable and repeatable. Since Henry Ford revolutionized the assembly line, all successful businesses create a repeatable process followed to the letter. Call them standard business procedures (SOP). Video cameras are everywhere, capturing every moment. All of the major shipping carriers follow a similar SOP.
All of us, who send gifts, or send documents, have used the same system. Despite the media mockery, this is an important issue. If true, it brings into question the security of one of our most trusted institutions. Many years ago, having worked with UPS as a consultant, I learned they follow a very regimented process without deviation, or exception.
For instance, just this weekend, I had left my phone at a friend’s home in Richmond, Virginia. As soon as I found out I had left it there, my friend promised I would receive it by the next business day via UPS. Using the UPS app, I tracked my phone from the shipping point to my home. I could see the truck on my computer, using the provided map, arriving in my neighborhood from the distribution center. I could see the package as the driver took it up my driveway to its final destination at my door.
Shipping Procedures – Sending the package
Every package has a shipping label. The label contains a TN (TN) along with the name and address of the sender and the receiver. Note: It’s not like the package has big red letters “TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT” – you need the TN off the label. Initially, the bundle with a label left Fox News offices on Monday. The only people with knowledge of the package are UPS and the Tucker Carlson team. Who took the bundle to the UPS office? Most likely it is the production team. The chain of ownership shifts from Fox News to UPS. With Tucker Carlson fully expecting to receive the bundle in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
SOP for all package shipments begins with logging-in a receipt of the package. When UPS or another carrier receives a package, the tracking starts. Specifically, packages are automatically tracked by the TN bar code. UPS accepts only sealed packages. Having shipped many packages over the years, I can say from experience – UPS will not accept a package with a broken seal. Assume that the package arrived at the shipping office intact.
Each hub has multiple cameras recording video at all times. Someone could review the videos. Seeing every movement based on the scanned arrival time at the hub. A package going from the UPS office to the hub would be the only time a package is not on video. A package arriving at the sorting facility – the first hub – from multiple points, is automatically scanned and tracked. If a package arrived at the sorting hub opened, that would be noted.
Note: Deliveries from these offices are made by couriers. The couriers may not be employees of UPS.
Some Interesting Questions
The only people to know that the Tucker Carlson show was shipping something, its TN, and the contents are the Tucker Carlson producers and Fox News. UPS could not know the contents of a sealed package, and very few people at Fox News knew about that package. Hundreds of thousands of packages are handled each day. Extremely important documents are shipped this way. UPS employees could never know something important was in the package or even question what was inside. The TN is the most important piece to get access to the package.
Various vehicles transport hundreds of thousands of similar packages daily. There could be no time or ability to do anything but log the package into the system and pass it on to the next location UNLESS someone wanted it and had access to the TN. Someone internally had to know it was coming. With the TN, they could know precisely where the package was going to be. Internal access is required to intercept a package, security is very tight.
Note: This is not good for the shipping company, regardless of what political party they support. On-time delivery may be the company’s stated primary goal. Without the security of distribution, a shipping company would soon be out of business.
Chain of Custody
Computers automatically track packages to and from each location. Scanners log packages through each hub, sometimes multiple times, without human touch. But, who could intercept the package and remove the contents? Using the carrier’s downloaded app, anyone could see the arrival of their package at each hub. However, to intercept a package, someone internally would need to know where it would be. Following the chain of custody one could ask: who had information a bundle would be shipped to Tucker Carlson in LA. Who knew its TN? Secondly, who could know the contents? Finally, who followed the package from the office to the delivery point?
Knowing the TN is not enough. Someone internally would need to know the shipping process and where the package would be in order to retrieve it quickly and steal the contents. An important question would be, at what point did UPS notice the open bundle? Follow the chain of custody from the shipping point. Who had access to the package, the information used to log, and forward the package to the next location?
Note: These locations have constant video surveillance.
Who Knew About the Bundle and its Contents?
Lastly, consider these questions: Who knew what was in the bundle? Once again, who had access to the TN? Obviously, someone checked on the package to determine where it was? Secondly, who knew the route that the package would take? Importantly, who intercepted and opened the package? Finally, at what location (hub) did this happen? Moreover, where was the package noticed to have been tampered with? UPS is getting to the bottom of the problem. However, it is important to note that this problem is deeper than a lost package.
Obviously, someone knew the bundle held important documents. Who would want them stolen? Since most organizations trust these shipping companies, this revelation would go to the heart of our packages’ safety throughout the delivery process. It would deflate a trust in security built up for years. UPS is a safe company to send your documents, “except if someone wants them”.
Note: The documents were real and important. Was stealing them important in delaying the message? Why were inconsequential documents stolen? We need answers to these questions.