The Post Office is spying on Americans

Yahoo News, which is a hard left partisan outfit, committed an act of journalism this week: it discovered that the United States Post Office has been running a "covert operations program" to monitor Americans' social media posts for inflammatory information.  That sounds like a bipartisan sin of officiousness that, despite the public nature of many posts, can leak into being a Fifth Amendment violation.  However, when you dig more deeply into the article, you discover that the Post Office is concerned only with "right-wing" inflammatory information.

Here's how Yahoo describes the program (emphasis mine):

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans' social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.

The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as "inflammatory" postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.

"Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021," says the March 16 government bulletin, marked as "law enforcement sensitive" and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security's fusion centers. "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."

A number of groups were expected to gather in cities around the globe on March 20 as part of a World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy, to protest everything from lockdown measures to 5G.

According to Yahoo, even left-leaning civil liberties experts have found the Post Office's conduct disturbing.  For example:

When contacted by Yahoo News, civil liberties experts expressed alarm at the post office's surveillance program. "It's a mystery," said University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, whom President Barack Obama appointed to review the National Security Agency's bulk data collection in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks. "I don't understand why the government would go to the Postal Service for examining the internet for security issues."

You really should read the whole Yahoo article.  It's a throwback to the good old days of actual journalism.

An interesting question is how the Post Office targeted accounts.  Conceivably, it could just have run word searches: "May 20," "Biden is an illegitimate president," "Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself."

Over at The Gateway Pundit, though, Joe Hoft suspects more a nefarious source for the information: he thinks the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) seized the information from Brian Kolfage, the triple-amputee they went after for allegedly misusing donations sent to him to help build a border wall.

Fifteen USPIS agents showed up to arrest Kolfage, dragging him out of the house without a wheelchair or his prosthetic legs and then forcing him to maneuver his way into the car with minimal help.  (The Gateway Pundit explains the circumstances of the arrest.)  Once Kolfage was out of the way, says Hoft:

The USPIS officers scoured his house and took information from his computers including the list of all the individuals (mostly conservative) who donated to the We Build the Wall project.  This list included millions of conservatives.

Hoft concedes that the USPIS said the information was necessary to build a case against Kolfage.  (I have no opinion about the charges made against Kolfage.)  However, Hoft believes that a primary or secondary reason was to get the names and contact information of millions of conservatives.  It's questionable whether Hoft's assertion can ever be proven, although it's certainly an intriguing idea.

It's sufficient to know, though, that every time you, a conservative, write or post anything on a social media site, the Post Office is watching you.

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