The United States Postal Service (USPS) is arguably one of the worst functioning government agencies, and continues to lose billions of dollars year after year.
Despite the agency’s flaws, the USPS is reportedly engaging in a “covert operations program” to monitor Americans’ social media posts. The goal of the operation is to uncover so-called “inflammatory” postings about domestic and international protests. The USPS uncovers the dates, times, and locations of the protests, before handing over their findings to the Department of Homeland Security.
The government bulletin obtained by Yahoo News which uncovered this covert operation also adds that “No intelligence is available to suggest the legitimacy of these threats.”
“[Internet Covert Operations Program] analysts will continue to monitor postings and provide direct intelligence reports to specific Areas of Responsibility for any identified posts discussing planned attacks or violent actions,” the memo continues.
The USPS defended the program, saying it exists to protect agency employees from potential threats.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the primary law enforcement, crime prevention, and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service,” the USPS said in a general statement, according to Yahoo. “As such, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has federal law enforcement officers, Postal Inspectors, who enforce approximately 200 federal laws to achieve the agency’s mission: protect the U.S. Postal Service and its employees, infrastructure, and customers; enforce the laws that defend the nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use; and ensure public trust in the mail.”
“The Internet Covert Operations Program is a function within the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which assesses threats to Postal Service employees and its infrastructure by monitoring publicly available open source information,” the statement continued. “Additionally, the Inspection Service collaborates with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to proactively identify and assess potential threats to the Postal Service, its employees and customers, and its overall mail processing and transportation network. In order to preserve operational effectiveness, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service does not discuss its protocols, investigative methods, or tools.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded by asking whether there are any government agencies not spying on the American people.
Finally, an answer to the question: "Is there any federal agency that's not spying on Americans?" https://t.co/gA6KoguD4N
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 21, 2021
We already know that multiple government agencies watch our every move. It’s a poorly-kept secret we’ve effectively accepted, especially since 9/11. Americans almost expect agencies like the NSA, CIA, and FBI to read social media posts and keep an eye on potential terrorist threats.
But it’s reasonable to assume that most Americans would be surprised to learn that the cash-strapped, sluggish USPS has found itself on the list of federal agencies monitoring online chatter. After all, the USPS is tasked with delivering letters or packages, not monitoring the Internet for protests or national security threats.
If anything, the USPS seems like the least likely agency to engage in covert operations. Of course, it’s understandable that they monitor physical packages which may present a threat, but digging into online posts about rallies and protests doesn’t exactly fall under their mission statement of “providing the nation with reliable, affordable, universal mail service.” It also seems strange that the agency’s reported spying is motivated by protecting USPS employees, while the content being monitored seems to be entirely political.
Perhaps, instead of focusing on potential national security concerns, the postal service should first work on achieving solvency. According to a General Accountability Officer (GAO) report, the agency lost a total of “$87 billion over the last 14 fiscal years — including $9.2 billion in fiscal years 2020.” The agency expects to lose an additional “$9.7 billion in fiscal year 2021,” despite a $2 billion increase in revenue and an uptick in package deliveries due to the pandemic, Forbes reported.
Beth Baumann is a Political Reporter and Editor at The Daily Wire. Follow her on Twitter @eb454.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.