USPS Has Been Quietly Running a Program That Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts

USPS Has Been Quietly Running a Program That Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The United States Postal office has their own police force called the “United States Postal Inspection Service” (USPIS) that boasts roughly 1,200 members.

The oldest continually operating federal law enforcement agency, its started goal is to protect the postal service, its employees, and its infrastructure. Their jurisdiction only covers crimes that affect the use of mail, the postal system, or postal employees.

Or at least on paper that’s their responsibilities.

We’re now learning that they’re in the surveillance business too – and it goes far beyond the stated scope of their operations.

As the Post Millennial reported:

The US Postal Service’s law enforcement arm is monitoring the social media activity of Americans to share “inflammatory” content across government agencies.

“Analysts with the USPIS Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” read a government bulletin. “Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts. “Mar 20 was the date set for the World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy, an umbrella protest involving many anti-government groups and movements.

The bulletin includes screenshots of users planning such protests over various social media sites including Facebook and Parler. While the bulletin justified this surveillance by suggesting that “Parler users have commented about their intent to use the rallies to engage in violence,” it admits that “[no] intelligence is available to suggest the legitimacy of these threats.””iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests and will disseminate intelligence updates as needed,” the bulletin reads.

When asked about the program, the USPS responded with a generic statement about the importance of their law enforcement arm, and ignored that these activities are outside their stated jurisdiction. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the primary law enforcement, crime prevention, and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service. The Internet Covert Operations Program is a function within the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which assesses threats to Postal Service employees and its infrastructure by monitoring publicly available open source information.”

Geoffrey Stone, who previously investigated the NSA’s surveillance program, was puzzled by the USPS’ role in this. “There are so many other federal agencies that could do this, I don’t understand why the post office would be doing it. There is no need for the post office to do it — you’ve got FBI, Homeland Security and so on, so I don’t know why the post office is doing this. I don’t understand why the government would go to the Postal Service for examining the internet for security issues.”

On the bright side, if there is going to be a government agency spying on us, I’d prefer it be one as historically incompetent as the USPS.

No word yet on if the NSA plans on entering the shipping business.

Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New YorkDebunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate


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