Postal Service Cops Are Monitoring Social Media, ‘Sensitive’ Internal Document Says

Home Technology Postal Service Cops Are Monitoring Social Media, ‘Sensitive’ Internal Document Says
Postal Service Cops Are Monitoring Social Media, ‘Sensitive’ Internal Document Says
Illustration for article titled Postal Service Cops Are Monitoring Social Media, 'Sensitive' Internal Document Says
Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Getty Images)

Add another pushpin to the string wall of America’s shadowy force of postal service cops. Yahoo News reports that the USPS’s security arm, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), monitored social media for potential threats of domestic violence. According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo obtained by Yahoo News, the USPIS collected “inflammatory” Parler and Telegram posts ahead of planned March 20 protests and shared them with other agencies.

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The previously unknown operation is called the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP). It’s unclear whether this is an ongoing program or was established for the sole purpose of collecting right-wing social media posts. The investigation seems to include posts from Facebook and other social media platforms, but the full breadth of the investigation is not clear from the document. The QAnon-promoted protests, against vaccines and covid-19 safety measures, were set for March 20, a date some believed would mark Donald Trump’s surprise return to the White House.

The two-page document, which is labeled “law enforcement sensitive” and was distributed by a DHC intelligence “fusion center,” reads in part:

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…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.

Neither the USPIS nor the DHS immediately responded to our requests for comment.