Snail Mail not safe from government’s prying eyes

In a previous post, I attempted to figure out how someone could communicate to another without being overheard by the government. I didn’t have an answer. Even if you met with them in the middle of the desert, far enough away from any electronic device, including your car, that you couldn’t be overheard, they could still see you via satellites and would have tracked you on your way there.

Anyway, it made me think of Mel Gibson’s character in “Conspiracy Theory.” Remember him mailing his newsletters? Unfortunately, the United States Postal Service cannot be trusted.

From the New York Times:

U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement

Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.

“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.

Here is the card:

bookstore owner mail begin monitored

It seems Pickering had been a left-wing activist. As I’ve said before, the global elitists aren’t left-wing or right-wing and the best thing for us to do is stop fighting one another and focus our animosity toward those who are attempting to subjugate all of us.

Back to the article:

Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images…

The mail covers program, used to monitor Mr. Pickering, is more than a century old but is still considered a powerful tool. At the request of law enforcement officials, postal workers record information from the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered. (Opening the mail would require a warrant.) The information is sent to the law enforcement agency that asked for it. Tens of thousands of pieces of mail each year undergo this scrutiny.

Again, it is partially about the global elitists’ preoccupation with social contacts:

“Basically they are doing the same thing as the other programs, collecting the information on the outside of your mail, the metadata, if you will, of names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations, which gives the government a pretty good map of your contacts, even if they aren’t reading the contents,” he said.

However, it’s still about tracking you:

In a criminal complaint filed June 7 in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the F.B.I. said a postal investigator tracing the ricin letters was able to narrow the search to Shannon Guess Richardson, an actress in New Boston, Tex., by examining information from the front and back images of 60 pieces of mail scanned immediately before and after the tainted letters sent to Mr. Obama and Mr. Bloomberg showing return addresses near her home…

“It’s a treasure trove of information,” said James J. Wedick, a former F.B.I. agent who spent 34 years at the agency and who said he used mail covers in a number of investigations… “Looking at just the outside of letters and other mail, I can see who you bank with, who you communicate with — all kinds of useful information that gives investigators leads that they can then follow up on with a subpoena.”

But, he said: “It can be easily abused because it’s so easy to use and you don’t have to go through a judge to get the information. You just fill out a form.”

…Law enforcement officials say the Postal Service rarely denies a request. In other government surveillance programs, like wiretaps, a federal judge must sign off on the requests.

And don’t you love how “they” always have a way around our laws?

Law enforcement officials need warrants to open the mail, although President George W. Bush asserted in a signing statement in 2007 that the federal government had the authority to open mail without warrants in emergencies or in foreign intelligence cases.

Court challenges to mail covers have generally failed because judges have ruled that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for information contained on the outside of a letter. Officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations, in fact, have used the mail-cover court rulings to justify the N.S.A.’s surveillance programs, saying the electronic monitoring amounts to the same thing as a mail cover. Congress briefly conducted hearings on mail cover programs in 1976, but has not revisited the issue.

You can read the manual, “USPS Procedures, Mail Cover Requests,” at http://cryptome.org/isp-spy/usps-spy.pdf

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