EACH YEAR, AT the request of police and intelligence agents across the country, the United States Postal Service conducts surveillance on physical pieces of mail going to and from the homes and businesses of tens of thousands of Americans, a group of United States senators says.
To initiate this surveillance, the department or agency has at least one hurdle to climb. First, they must submit the request in writing. Then … well, nothing. That is the entire hurdle.
In practice, this serves less as an evidentiary threshold than an IT ticketing system. For more than a handful of senators, that’s unacceptable. And in a letter today to the nation’s chief postal inspector, Gary Barksdale, the group explains why: “There is a long history of documented abuses of postal surveillance.”