Congressman Matt Gaetz Leads 9 Lawmakers in Push to Abolish USPIS’s “Internet Covert Operations Program”

April 30, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) led a group of nine Republican lawmakers today in the introduction of the ‘‘USPIS Surveillance Protection Act.” If passed, the legislation would defund the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), an illegal domestic surveillance program. 

 

Last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (KY-01) sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting a briefing on the program after a recent report exposed iCOP’s surveillance update on a government bulletin distributed by the Department of Homeland Security. The bulletin reported the program’s findings of social media posts by right-leaning users on platforms such as Facebook, Parler, and Telegram.

 

“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. As the dangers of government surveillance and targeting become ever the more clear, especially to conservatives, Congress must immediately abolish this program,” said Congressman Matt Gaetz. 

 

Text of the “USPIS Surveillance Protection Act” and list of original co-sponsors may be found below.

 

ORIGINAL CO-SPONSORS: 

 

Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05)

Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04)

Rep. Tim Burchett (TN-02)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01)

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14)

Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04)

Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10)

Rep. Greg Steube (FL-17)

 

LEGISLATION TEXT:

 

To prohibit funds from being used to implement the Internet Covert Operations Program under the United States Postal Inspection Service, and for other purposes.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

 

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘USPIS Surveillance Protection Act’’.

 

SEC. 2 FINDINGS

 

(1) The United States Postal Service has been operating a clandestine domestic surveillance program of Americans’ social media activity known as the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP). (2) iCOP is part of the United States Postal Inspection Service which is the law enforcement and security component of USPS. (3) The USP Inspection Service is operating outside of its USPS jurisdiction when it monitors internet users’ sharing of information as its jurisdiction is narrowly defined within postal mail only. (4) The iCOP program is a violation of privacy; it encroaches upon the private lives of Americans and seeks to curb constitutional rights of the First Amendment. (5) iCOP is not only illegal for operating outside of its stated jurisdiction, but also politically motivated in its target.

 

SEC. 3 PROHIBITON ON FUNDING OF PROGRAM

 

No Federal funds (including amounts available in the Postal Service Fund established under section 2003 of title 39, United States Code) may be used to implement, conduct, or otherwise carry out the Internet Covert Operations Program operated by the United States Postal Inspection Service or any other domestic surveillance program with politically motivated targets.

 

 

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