Newly surrendered documents indicate that the tax-subsidized United States Postal “Service” (USPS) has engaged in a widespread spying campaign targeting many Americans who advocate for the right to keep and bear arms and conservatives/libertarians, in general.
The documents, visible thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Cato Institute and its Senior Fellow, Patrick Eddington, indicate that the USPS has been monitoring people online.
Ammoland offers a quick overview:
“The USPS Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored the social media accounts of gun rights advocates from September 2020 through April 2021. The postal inspectors tracked the online activities of gun activists that attended Virginia Citizens Defense League’s (VCDL) ‘Lobby Day’ and protests over the killing of Breonna Taylor.”
Perhaps we’ve known for a while that Big Brother was watching us online, but it might surprise a few of us to discover that he also wears a USPS uniform.
“‘The Post Office has no business devoting a cent of taxpayer money to monitoring groups involved in the political process,’ Eddington told AmmoLand News. ‘Those officials who authorized or otherwise participated in this iCOP program who are still on the federal payroll should be fired and the program terminated.’”
iCop sounds like a perverse pancake breakfast chain. How do the iCop postal police know whom to watch? Are they tagging folks who receive pro-gun fliers in the physical mail, then exploring their social media?
Ammoland spoke to VCDL president Philip Van Cleave, who observed:
“’This smacks of a politically-based anti-gun agenda,’ Van Cleave told AmmoLand News. ‘If that’s not the case, then the Postal Service is pretty inept if they think a VCDL rally needs to be monitored for any reason. If they had done even the tiniest amount of research, they would have realized that VCDL had a rally with over 50,000 people the year before with zero problems, and we left Richmond cleaner than it was before our rally.”
But, even if there had been problems, that’s a local or state issue.
Gun Owners of America Senior Vice-President Erich Pratt weighed in for Ammoland, saying, in part:
“Prior to the Virginia lobby day in 2021, the US Postal Service was tracking gun owners who, we now know, were 100 percent law-abiding and committed no crimes at the event.”
And this new USPS wrongdoing extends beyond the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
Ammoland also notes:
“The USPS program was not limited to just monitoring gun activists. The postal inspectors also monitored anti-Biden protests. They targeted Americans that attended the ‘Million MAGA March’ and other pro-Trump rallies.”
And USPS officials appear to be so disastrously obtuse, they actually claim that they are fully in the right. Reports the Washington Times:
Asked about its surveillance of Americans, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said its inspectors are federal law enforcement officers charged with protecting Postal Service employees, infrastructure and customers.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service occasionally reviews publicly available information in order to assess potential safety or security threats to Postal Service employees, facilities, operations and infrastructure,” the agency said in a statement.
So, that’s their “get the feds into it” rationale – a rationale that would allow the USPS to claim that it and other U.S. government agencies could engage in this activity against anyone, anywhere, because, of course, the USPS can claim that its employees are everywhere.
This is a seemingly perennial pattern: Americans catch the government engaging in utterly unconstitutional and illegal activity, many protest, and the bureaucrats keep doing it, while politicians embark on a fraud of “addressing the problem” with new legislation -- or a president issues another authoritarian “Executive Order” -- to actually allow the feds to do that offensive activity or the equivalent of it.
One of the most prominent examples of this ju-jitsu – using public pushback to get where the politicians want and undermine the public outcry – appeared in the shadow of Watergate. After US residents learned that the CIA, FBI and NSA were engaging in warrantless spying on Martin Luther King, Jr., anti-war advocates, and others who, often, were not accused of criminal activity, the federal government, led by Senator Frank Church (D-ID), in 1975 held hearings about the multi-agency criminal spying - then leveraged the hearings to pass the leftist-created “cure” called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a statute that literally made it legal for the feds to spy on foreigners, on Americans in contact with them, and on Americans in contact with those Americans.
The feds expanded the FISA net in 2001 with the PATRIOT Act (Joe Biden claims he helped write it in 1995) – something that many of us knew would allow towering federal attacks on our rights -- and, again in 2008.
Not long after, and contrary to his falsehood in mid-2006, George W. Bush’s administration was exposed for using Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouthCorporation, to engage in, as USA Today put it:
“...secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans…”
The the FISA court was later exposed in 2013 for issuing to phone corporations widespread orders to turn over to the National Security Agency (NSA) the communications data of millions of Americans, indiscriminately, completely skirting the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
The new revelation of USPS snooping is an alarm and a reminder, because the list of federal wrongdoing is long. It’s a history of politicians leveraging public outrage to call for “reform” and then literally institutionalizing permission for the transgressions; it’s a history of U.S. bureaucrats continuing to engage in their immoral activity (often politically motivated to retain or expand power and harm innocent people), even as they try to tell us they are “protecting us.”