Inspector general says post office surveillance program exceeded legal authority by spying on Americans

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WASHINGTON — An inspector general probe into the U.S. Postal Service surveillance program, known as iCOP, concluded that the agency did not have the legal authority to conduct the sweeping intelligence collection and surveillance of American protesters and others between 2018 and 2021.

The Postal Service Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into iCOP — which stands for Internet Covert Operations Program — at the request of Congress in direct response to reporting from Yahoo News last year.

“We determined that certain proactive searches iCOP conducted using an open-source intelligence tool from February to April 2021 exceeded the Postal Inspection Service’s law enforcement authority,” the March 25, 2022, inspector general report stated.

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