Why Were Postal Workers Spying on Social Media Posts About Jan. 6?
Newsmax: An obscure initiative of the United States Postal Service aided law enforcement investigators following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Politico reported.
The postal service’s Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) sent bulletins to law enforcement agencies on how to view social media posts that had been deleted, and information derived from scrutinizing posts on the uncensored social media platform Wimkin, Politico reported Monday.
Since the iCOP was created to keep mail deliverers safe, involvement with Jan. 6 investigations raises questions about how broad the program’s mandate had grown.
“Law enforcement-intelligence apparatuses raise serious Constitutional questions, serious questions for our democracy,” said Chip Gibbons, the policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent. “It is outside their jurisdiction as I understand it.
“The FBI has jurisdiction over domestic terrorism, whereas the Post Office — I don’t even know how they’re involved in this.”
A U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesperson told Politico the agency reviews public social media posts as part of “a comprehensive security and threat analysis.”
“News report and social media listening activity helps protect the 644,000 men and women who work for the Postal Service by ensuring they are able to avoid potentially volatile situations while working to process and deliver the nation’s mail every day,” the spokesperson told Politico.
Politico said documents pointed to potential gaps in the Jan. 6 select committee’s investigation by revealing concerns about a company it is not known to be scrutinizing. The challenge of tracking people on low-profile platforms also was discussed.