The Postal Service was created by our founders in the Constitution. This same document guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.
They literally fought the revolution over this goal, to be free from unreasonable search by the government. They would roll in their graves to learn that the Postal Service of all government agencies has transformed into an arm of the “deep state,” a kind of thought police with its own “covert” surveillance agency to monitor the social media activities of the public for “inflammatory” content.
The Postal Service can’t even deliver our mail on time, but it thinks it’s appropriate to run a sophisticated domestic spy program targeting its customers? Why is the post office running an intelligence operation?
Many, including myself, aren’t comfortable with any government agency secretly reading our emails, reading our social media posts, or monitoring our phone calls, but when an agency such as the FBI violates our privacy, it’s possible to hold it accountable. It has a director who can be questioned and fired, a public budget that Congress can cut, and agents who can be sued and prosecuted in court. It’s a publicly known entity with built-in safeguards.
In contrast, the United States Postal Service’s Internet Covert Operations Program, which actually goes by iCOP, believe it or not, is totally unaccountable because, until now, it was an intelligence-collecting program unknown to Congress.
After news broke of iCOP’s existence and activities, more than two dozen other members of Congress and I demanded Postmaster General Louis DeJoy brief us on this spy program and answer our questions and the questions our constituents flooded our offices with. Instead of briefing us himself, he sent the chief postal inspector, Gary Barksdale, who was unprepared to answer our questions to the point of incompetence.
Barksdale couldn’t tell us when the program started, how much taxpayers were paying to run it, or even what legal authority the post office had to spy on the public’s social media activities. He denied iCOP was a program but said it had an “executive” overseeing it. He said the post office coordinated with other agencies but couldn’t list a single one.
What’s worse, he denied iCOP was used to monitor social media activities but, in the very same breath, said his analysts use iCOP to do exactly this.
Right now, the public has a great deal of distrust in the federal government, but there are few parts of the federal government that the public distrusts more than the post office. Between post offices across the nation getting caught red-handed lying about deliveries to meet a quota and somehow managing to lose billions of dollars each year, the USPS hasn’t given the public many reasons to trust its word on anything.
Now, the same agency comes before Congress, behind closed doors, and asks us all to just take its word it’s not violating the rights of millions through this covert internet surveillance program? It must be joking.
Nancy Mace represents South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Author: Rep. Nancy Mace
Source: Washington Examiner: Why is the Postal Service running a spy operation?