U.S Post Office Admits to Spying on Gun Owners, NOT ‘legally authorized’

Privacy shutterstock_Stan Eales 2105849240
shutterstock_Stan Eales

WASHINGTON, D.C. -(Ammoland.com)- A FOIA obtained by Cato Institute senior fellow Patrick Eddington shows that the United States Postal Service (USPS) inspectors have been monitoring pro-gun activists.

The USPS Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored the social media accounts of gun rights advocates from September 2020 through April 2021. The postal inspectors tracked the online activities of gun activists that attended Virginia Citizens Defense League’s (VCDL) “Lobby Day” and protests over the killing of Breonna Taylor. These actions alarmed Mr. Eddington.

“The Post Office has no business devoting a cent of taxpayer money to monitoring groups involved in the political process,” Eddington told AmmoLand News. “Those officials who authorized or otherwise participated in this iCOP program who are still on the federal payroll should be fired and the program terminated.”

Politically Motivated Spying

U.S Post Office Spying on VCDL Gun Owners
U.S Post Office Spying on VCDL Gun Owners

Gun rights activists believe that the monitoring is politically motivated. One of these activists is VCDL president Philip Van Cleave. Mr. Van Cleave points out that there has never been violence or any unlawful activity on any lobby day.

“This smacks of a politically-based anti-gun agenda,” Van Cleave told AmmoLand News. “If that’s not the case, then the Postal Service is pretty inept if they think a VCDL rally needs to be monitored for any reason. If they had done even the tiniest amount of research, they would have realized that VCDL had a rally with over 50,000 people the year before with zero problems, and we left Richmond cleaner than it was before our rally. In fact, VCDL has always coordinated its rallies with the police to ensure that the gun-control crowd doesn’t start any trouble. In what alternate universe would VCDL in any way be a threat to the postal service or its employees?”

VCDL is not the only gun rights group that has participated in Virginia’s lobby day. Gun Owners of America (GOA) participates in the gun rights rally annually. GOA is one of the largest and most powerful lobbying groups on Capitol Hill. GOA has sued the government multiple times, making them an enemy of the Biden administration.

“Prior to the Virginia lobby day in 2021, the US Postal Service was tracking gun owners who, we now know, were 100 percent law-abiding and committed no crimes at the event,” said Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of GOA. “This just shows the anti-gun animus at USPS. After all, did the agency track the Antifa rioters who tore apart city after city during 2020-21? Or did the Postmaster General track the thugs who burnt St. John’s Church, when the Secret Service had to whisk away the President to safety? Ignoring the real criminal element just shows that anti-gun Leftist bureaucrats are ignoring the ‘elephant in the room’ in order to persecute and harass their political opponents.”

The USPS program was not limited to just monitoring gun activists. The postal inspectors also monitored anti-Biden protests. They targeted Americans that attended the “Million MAGA March” and other pro-Trump rallies.

The Postal Service inspector general has admitted that USPS overstepped its law enforcement authority.

“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 Postal Service inspector general said in a March audit. “Furthermore, we could not corroborate whether other work analysts completed from October 2018 through June 2021 was legally authorized.”

The USPS inspectors disputed the IG’s finding. They believe that they acted within the law. The IG worked on the request from the top Democrat and Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

The full extent of the Postal Service’s monitoring is unknown due to the heavily redacted documents.

USPS Internet Covert Operations SPYING Program FOIA 2022 – 2021-FPIS-00339


About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

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uncle dudley

If you are like me and think this is an overreach of their responsibility just wait until the 80,000 new IRS agents are hired.
When you have a president who has spent his entire adult life living off the taxpayers this is what you get. An act that is outrageous.
Time to clean house from the top down.

swmft

a GIANT lawn mower would work or a chipper

Wild Bill

A repub. majority in the House and Senate could stop the hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents by refusing to appropriate the funds. All we need do is vote and hold the repubs. accountable.
A repub. majority in the House and Senate could, also impeach and try current presidents, vp, and judges. probably take up the new Congress’s first three days.

Last edited 2 months ago by Wild Bill
nod

Republican control of the House and Senate isn’t going to do squat. Reference when Trump was President. Too many Democraps dressing as Republicans. Think McConnell, Lindsey, Collins, etc.

tatersalad

Nooooooo! there isn’t any hidden intent there the democrats would never use the government to form a secret Hitleres jack boot army. Think 80,000 strong armed Hitler Germany SS and now think Bidens 80,000 armed enforcement IRS agents.

Cam

At the least someone needs to lose their job and pension for this. I would prefer a nice rent free room at a federal prison for them though.

Boom

… but it’s not rent free ……………..

Tionico

don’t forget the bright orange onesie…. they wil look SO CUTE in them…….

musicman44mag

Doe’s anyone remember the term (Going Postal)? They should check their own backyard before they start snooping in mine. Pure political overreach.

swmft

next conservative president should start cleaning house ,firing anyone who has miss used job to spy on citizens., make them read lob description and then make them sign a letter that they broke the law in the performance of their job, or try them for the crimes they committed, a few 50 year jail terms would get the rest to leave quietly ….clean slate

swmft

first case was a vet who was fired went in with his m16 and shot the supervisors …good start

gregs

yeah, there is a reason for that term, and we lawful citizens are banned from going into a dangerous place “unarmed”. so much is wrong with this government agency that the postal inspectors should have their hands full looking at their own people instead of law-abiding citizens.
so, the postal inspectors think the inspector general is wrong. really? my kids always thought i was wrong when i told them they were doing something they shouldn’t be doing.

DIYinSTL

Not only can’t you go in, even parking in their lot with a firearm locked up in your car is a felony.

Bill

Yeah and these regulations have been fostered upon us by those hired to “serve” the citizens! Riiiight!

Boom

There’s a shipping-type store here named, Goin Postal… Haha…

grant

JAWFA
“Just Another Weaponized Federal Agency”

swmft

bunch of criminals who should be tried and jailed under title 18 , and because of nature of crime never leave supervised release,never have a gun or vote after jail

Last edited 2 months ago by swmft
warfinge

If only the NRA or even the GOA worked for my gun rights as much as the VCDL. The postal service complains about lack of revenue for day to day operations while branching out into state security. If we don’t clean out congress and impose term limits, this tyranny cannot do anything except spread into every department in government. .

Choogie

Yeah right. Where have you been. It’s ALREADY THERE. I have never seen so many corrupt bastards in all my life and it’s getting worse NOT BETTER.

Bill

We have the best congress money can buy!

Duane

Our system of checks and balances have been greatly reduced.

By the failure of each branch to up hold the constitution.

If only one of them would do so we would have very few of these troubles.

swmft

If you have not been under a rock ,you would see society is breaking down attacked by the left ,property rights attacked by both sides theft by “eminent domain” these things are not acceptable ,someone does not want to sell for your project go around them or move your project you dont have a right to force someone to do anything they dont want to,just as you can do what you want as long as it does no harm/interfere with someone else problem is lack of respect ,unfortunately these days it only comes at point of a barrel , look… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by swmft
swmft

they cant ,or wont stop theft whithin the post office so they dont even do the job they are supposed to post office used to deliver for the cmp…had a rifle they “lost” was found by a dumpster when they delivered it left it outside in the rain this is a signature required item….hummmmm. problems were not fixed with mass firing in 1974 because problem is top down, just like rest of government

Wass

“Found by a dumpster and a signature required item”. This raises questions: Shouldn’t the “rifle” be sent Registered Mail Return Receipt Requested? In which case the delivery (assuming you’re an FFL dealer) CANNOT be completed without addressee’s signature. Not to mention, the entire delivery process is monitored at every step. ????

Last edited 2 months ago by Wass
Bill

Gotta wonder what if anything was done to the letter carrier who apparently dumped the rifle!

Tionico

Most states do not require CMP items be shipped to an FFL. A few of the more knotsified ones do.

Bill

Download a .PDF copy of “Unintended Consequences by John Ross from the internet! This work of fiction contains many examples of current abuses such as this by many organizations of the federal government! You know, the entity that’s supposed to serve the citizens!

MikeRoss

Amazing book

Wild Bill

The detailed history alone is an education about gun control.

Montana454Casull

Rogue United States government is on par with Russia and China’s governments and should realize they are not exempt from a correction Time for we the people to take back our government from these criminals and hold them all accountable for thier actions that go against our constitution.

KDad

More of the Biden/Obama Police State is being exposed every day ! Hell, the USPS can’t even deliver the mail properly, but they have the time and manpower to spy on law abiding American citizens !!!

JNew

I guess that explains the dirty looks I get from my mailman whenever I get my latest issues of Guns and Ammo or American Rifleman.

swmft

should be in plain brown wrapper….gun porn …makes me think of all the things I have received in priority boxes with pobox as return..someone knew or suspected this has been going on

Bill

This shows how deep the “swamp” is! We need to clean house! Nov elections are the start! God, help us more!!

DIYinSTL

And … the USPS photographs almost every piece of mail it delivers. You can go the their website in the morning and see what will be delivered today (4 pieces for me) or what should have been delivered for the previous week. The upside is you can check a box if some piece of mail was not delivered. But how long do they keep the images? There is certainly opportunity for mischief as they can use them to create member lists of any disfavored organization that send paper mail or purchases from any company.

Last edited 2 months ago by DIYinSTL
2gats

Exactly when do “AMERICANS” stand up against this crap?

it’s embarrassing that we have been polite as this behavior from our servants has arisen.

When exactly will real “AMERICANS” show up with ropes, torches, pitchforks, and rifles???

ALL PERSONS DRAWING A TAX FUNDED PAYCHECK SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO LIST THEIR RESIDENCE ADDRESS!!!

if we allow this to continue our kids are SCREWED!!!!!!!

Tionico

USPS have ZERO authority to undertake any law enforcement or intelligence gathering operations outside of enforcing the postal codes regarding what is/is not lawful to ship using their service, theft of mail (which they studiously IGNORE wven when all the details are shoved under their noses), and that’s it.

tatersalad

What else can you call this behavor other than Communism!

Boom

RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE!!!

….but serious.

Desert Guy

Only confirms the respect I’ve had for all “law enforcement” in the U.S. over the past fifty years *None!* If there are any “honest” ones, they should hang their heads in shame. Not surprised at all by this

Philip Van Cleeve and VCDL should sue USPS into ruinous bankruptcy..

BTW, I’m a VCDL member. But will now re-consider as I can’t afford to be a target of the government.

Last edited 2 months ago by Desert Guy
J Gibbons

You are presumably a gun owner. You are active on this site. You are presumably active on other sites (even if just reading content). Even if you drop your VCDL membership, you are already and will continue to be a target of the government. Biden is the tyrannical dictator wanna-be that the Progressives claimed Trump was. Despite his many flaws, overall, he was working to give the government back to the people. He just didn’t do enough with the 4 years he was given. I hope the next conservative, freedom-loving president does a better job at cleaning house.

Boom

There wont be a next time… Freedom loving/protecting is out of style, in the circles of people that run for office.

swmft

it will take a very uncivil war to get our republic back , they have been chipping away for a long time

Desert Guy

Voting doesn’t matter. Only the “returns” matter….

Desert Guy

Yes, I am a gun owner. However, you have more faith in our elections than I do. I suggest looking at the Voting Registrar in Prince William County VA as an example of election integrity.

Deg4u

I’m surprised he got as much done as he did with all the hindering he got from the demrats.

Country Boy

So how did the USPS actually deploy their surveilance? The mailmen followed us around in a mail truck? or did they open letters and packages?
having a hard time understanding how USPS surveilled gun owners/trump supporters. Please enlighten me.

PAF145

We all know that the worthless postal union clowns are communists

Arizona

Taxes are confiscated from citizens and misused once again. They are supposed to deliver mail. That is all! Instead, they spy on us, with money taken from the fruits of our labor!

FJB and Fthe USgov