The U.S. Postal Service has two key programs with the federal government aimed at rooting out terrorism that track and record data on all mail that travels through its offices.
The New York Times reported on a U.S. Postal Service "mail cover" program that's been in place for decades. That program allows postal workers the ability to record — by hand — all the information on the front and back of letters that are mailed to residences, at the request of law enforcement.
But another program, called "Mail Isolation Control and Tracking," is much more high-tech. It started in 2001, after anthrax attacks hit at Capitol Hill and at various spots around the nation, and gives U.S. Postal Service workers the ability to photograph the exterior of each piece of mail that passes through the office. The data is then recorded in case it's needed in a future investigation.
An ex-Justice Department worker said, Newser reported: "In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime. Now it seems to be, 'Let's record everyone's mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating with.' Essentially, you've added mail covers on millions of Americans."
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