Should every federal agency be on surveillance duty? What if the mailman is the one looking through the peephole?
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) dates back to 1772, when Benjamin Franklin created the position of “Surveyor” to audit postal accounts and investigate mail theft.
Over time, the USPIS has become the law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service, enforcing laws that protect USPS employees, postal buildings, customers, and other crimes involving postal mail.
Inspecting mail and investigating mail crimes, for a country as large as the United States, is an enormous task. This is especially difficult for an organization that originated in the 18th century with the responsibility to assist in delivering physical mail safely and effectively.
While it is true that the USPIS enjoys broad jurisdiction, it is disturbing that this institution has taken upon itself to expand beyond the scope of its mandate to implement what it calls the Internet Covert Operations Program, also known as iCOP.
This illegal and unconstitutional program combs through social media posts of Americans looking for politically charged or “inflammatory” material that it somehow may deem dangerous to its operations, then shares any such findings across government agencies.
However, according to USPIS’s own Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale, there have been no actionable findings under iCOP’s social media trawling, evidencing its precarious nature and misplaced scope.