50 Years Ago A Great Man Said
“..the task of preserving and enlarging freedom at home and of safeguarding it from the forces of tyranny abroad is great enough to challenge all our resources and to require all our strength.
Anyone who joins us in all sincerity, we welcome. Those who do not care for our cause, we don’t expect to enter our ranks in any case. And — And let our Republicanism, so focused and so dedicated, not be made fuzzy and futile by unthinking and stupid labels.
I would remind you that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
- Barry Goldwater, 1964
Do you recall who wrote to you in 2013 or who you wrote too?
Don't worry, the government knows.
Where you and everyone at your address banks,
Who insures your car, home and life,
What credit cards you and your family have,
Where you shop and who you order from by mail,
What friends you and your family have.
If you use those cute return address labels or a rubber stamp with your address on it they also know who you write too.
The government isn't just watching/recording all your phone calls they are recording all business and personal mail and packages by photographing mail as It's processed, and storing forever, information on the outside of all mail sent in the country.
This particular cat got out of the bag earlier this year via disclosures about the program originating from a government error and a later FOIA request by Leslie Pickering a concerned citizen in Buffalo, NY and reported on the Sunday 7/15/13 evening national news for NBC where there was a 4 minute segment about a revamped U.S. Mail program that the government has now admitted captures images of both sides of any post card, letter or package which is put into the USPS system.
As I posted 7/15/13 and 11/13 /13 on this site, thr 11 year old high tech computer system covers ALL mail, domestic and international. 160,000,000,000 pieces a year (that is 160 Billion!).
At one time the post office was considered to be the largest intelligence service of the government and watching the mail goes as far back as the Civil War.
The relevant text is about the 'Automated Facer Canceller System' (AFCS) and reads in part: 'The AFCS incorporates a 'Mail Isolation Control and Tracking' (MICT) program which photographs and captures an image of every piece that is processed.'
This program is no longer 'secret' but has been reported on by various media in addition to NBC under headlines reading: "USPS Logs Mail for FBI, and It's Legal" at http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2013/07/usps-logs-mail-for-fbi-and-its-legal.html
Such diverse reporting sources also include UPI http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/07/04/US-Postal-Service-logs-all-mail-for-law-enforcement/UPI-36491372921200/ and 'The Smoking Gun' at: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/woman-arrested-for-obama-bloomberg-ricin-letters-687435
Unlike the phone monitoring program such mail monitoring activities have already been through various courts and it has been ruled that information found on the outside of mail and packages can readily be seen by anyone and recording of the information is legal.
Originally these 'mail covers' were used to obtain data on specific individuals activities, now the program has expanded to scoop up ALL information on everyone on the basis that at some future time the information might prove useful in an investigation.
As with the collected phone data there is no set expiration for deleting the data.
Unfortunately there is no constitutional 'right to privacy', perhaps there should be.