So the U.S. Postal Service Is Spying On Our Snail Mail Too

Baseless, invasive surveillance: Not just on the Internet. Amid all the sound and fury over #Snowden and the NSA and the apparently brazen violation of our civil liberties, the New York Times informs us today that the U.S. government is also peeping at our snail mail.

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.

Pickering, who runs a bookstore in Buffalo, was a former spokesman for the radical “eco-terrorist” Earth Liberation Front. Which almost certainly explains why his mail was being spied on by the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program of the United States Postal Service. (The mail is tracked and recorded but not typically opened.) In the program’s defense, it purportedly helped catch the Ricin mailer in Mississippi, among other mail-criminals. Still, Pickering, who’s shop is named “Burning Books,” doesn’t appear to be too pleased with the intrusion. [NY Times]