On Tuesday (December 6), House Democrats rejected a request from their Republican counterparts for information regarding the U.S. Postal Service surveillance program, which the GOP alleges was used to spy on conservatives.
The request for information is linked to actions taken by the Internet Covert Operations Program (ICOP).
ICOP is a division of the Postal Service’s Security arm — the Postal Inspection Service — and its role is to assess threats to the U.S. Postal Service, its employees, and its infrastructure through the monitoring of open source information.
In 2021, reports surfaced that iCOP sent bulletins containing protestors’ movement and information on an alleged militia group that may have threatened House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA.) to law enforcement officials.
The actions prompted an investigation by the Inspector General, which revealed in a March 2021 report that iCOP’s actions “exceeded the Postal Inspection Service’s law enforcement authority.”
In September of this year, the Cato Institute obtained records revealing that iCOP was also used to track conservative groups which opposed President Joe Biden and gun rights activists.
The Cato Institute’s revelations prompted Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde (Georgia) to propose a resolution that iCOP hand over information and records of their investigation into conservatives.
The Democrat-led House Oversight and Reform Committee decided to report Clyde’s request to the House floor, killing the Georgia Republican’s request. However, Republican lawmakers tried to argue in favor of the resolution’s passage.
In their arguments, Republicans claimed ICOP was causing the U.S. Postal Service to stray from its mission and that the Postal Service could have “squandered money on the program.”