According to reports, Rep. Matt Gaetz and other House Republicans introduced legislation on Friday to end funding for the part of the U.S. Postal Service that carries out online surveillance.
Gaetz said that “the Postal Service should deliver the mail on time and on budget.”
“They shouldn’t have a covert surveillance program to monitor social media political behavior, protected by our cherished Constitution,” he continued. “As the dangers of government surveillance and targeting become ever the more clear, especially to conservatives, Congress must immediately abolish this program.”
The legislation was rolled out in response to a March bulletin, reported by Yahoo News earlier this month, distributed by the Postal Service’s Inspection Service’s Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP). The bulletin cited iCOP concerns about potential “significant” protests planned for March 20 based on “online inflammatory material” and posts on social media platforms Parler and Telegram.
“iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests and will disseminate intelligence updates if needed," the agency wrote in the bulletin.
The new bill backed by almost a dozen House Republicans would prohibit federal funds from being used for iCOP. The legislation’s text accuses the organization of being “politically motivated in its target,” and the USPS of “operating a clandestine domestic surveillance program of Americans’ social media activity.”
Other bill sponsors include GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Paul Gosar(Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Scott Perry (Pa.), Greg Steube (Fla.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Tim Burchett (Tenn.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.).
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