Postal Service conducted surveillance on protesters with pro-gun, anti-Biden agendas, report

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Americans are being spied upon by the Post Office, according to newly released public documents, and it is further proof that the administrate state of the uni-party has no respect for American civil liberties or for sovereign Americans and our liberty.

The news of the Post Office spying on us comes at the same time we are learning about the complex hatred Democrat Joe Biden has for supporters of President Donald J. Trump, and about the apparent plans, the FBI apparently has for punishing those same people.

And now there is this news:

The U.S. Postal Service monitored protesters across the country, snooping on Americans focused on issues involving guns and President Biden’s election, according to records obtained by The Washington Times.

Postal inspectors tracked the actions of gun rights activists gathering in Richmond, Virginia; people preparing to demonstrate against police in Louisville, Kentucky, after an investigation into the police shooting of Breonna Taylor; and far-right groups headed to the District of Columbia after Mr. Biden’s election.

Cato Institute senior fellow Patrick Eddington obtained the heavily redacted records detailing the postal inspectors’ spying from September 2020 through April 2021, including through covert social media surveillance called the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP).

The records provide a rare glimpse into the breadth and depth of the Postal Service’s surveillance apparatus, which Mr. Eddington said was capable of reaching into every home and business in the country.

“The U.S. Postal Service is reportedly monitoring protesters across the country, focusing on Americans with such interests as guns and President Biden’s election,” Just The News reported this week, adding:

Postal inspectors tracked the activities of gun rights activists gathering in Virginia; people demonstrations in Louisville, Kentucky, after the police shooting of Breonna Taylor; and far-right groups going to Washington, D.C., after Biden’s election, according to an investigation by The Washington Times.

The Times reports the investigation is based on redacted documents obtained by a fellow at the Cato Institute think tank that detail postal inspectors’ “spying” from September 2020 through April 2021.

Among the operations was a social media surveillance effort named the Internet Covert Operations Program.

One apparent example of the Postal Service’s surveillance – based upon the documents an institute fellow obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request – is a redacted bulletin reportedly showing the agency’s Inspection Service having tracked “peaceful armed protests” at a Second Amendment rally for Lobby Day in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 18, 2021.

“The gathering lasted approximately two hours, with members identifying themselves as affiliates of the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois and Last Sons of Liberty,” the bulletin reportedly reads. “Counter-protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement also attended. With heavy law enforcement presence the demonstrations stayed peaceful in nature.”

Postal Times reported:

“The Postal Service cannot reliably deliver mail to my own home, yet they can find the money and people to effectively digitally spy at scale, including on Americans engaged in First Amendment-protected activities,” Mr. Eddington said.

A redacted situational awareness bulletin released in response to Mr. Eddington’s Freedom of Information Act request showed the U.S. Postal Inspection Service tracked “peaceful armed protests” by Virginians demonstrating at a Second Amendment rally for “Lobby Day” in Richmond on Jan. 18, 2021.

The Washington Times added details in their report:

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.

The Postal Service inspector general said this year that the postal inspectors’ surveillance overstepped law enforcement authority and may not have had legal approval.

The inspectors disputed that conclusion.

“We determined that certain proactive searches iCOP conducted using an open-source intelligence tool from February to April 2021 exceeded the Postal Inspection Service’s law enforcement authority,” the Postal Service watchdog said in a March audit. “Furthermore, we could not corroborate whether other work analysts completed from October 2018 through June 2021 was legally authorized.”

The audit said the Postal Service agreed to conduct a full review of the analytics team, a new name for the iCOP program, before a targeted deadline of Sept. 30, 2022, and would ensure its inspectors’ online surveillance activities were authorized.

The Postal Service watchdog’s investigation was a response to a request from the top Democrat and Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Mr. Eddington wants Congress’ oversight committees to investigate further and said he is appealing for the Postal Service to lift redactions on details of its spying on Americans.

He noted that the Postal Service kept a March 2021 bulletin largely censored, but Yahoo News already had published it without redactions. It showed postal inspectors examining “right-wing Parler and Telegram accounts” ahead of planned protests.

Mr. Eddington warned that people should not assume the Postal Service is the only federal agency snooping on their social media accounts.

Other private entities and state and local governments also have interests in tracking people’s social media usage. This week, The Dallas Morning News reported that at least 37 colleges had purchased a social media surveillance tool called Social Sentinel since 2015, and many had used it to track students’ posts, including about protests on campuses.

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