Bookstore owner was victim of US snail mail surveillance

The New York Times has a story out today on another kind of surveillance the government sometimes uses to snoop on people who may or may not have done anything wrong: postal mail.

Leslie James Pickering, an activist who owns the "Burning Books" independent bookstore in Buffalo, N.Y., was targeted by a tracking program run by the United States Postal Service.

He discovered a note in his mail which indicated that all letters, parcels and other mail addressed to him or sent by him would be monitored between Aug. 16, 2012, and Sept. 14, 2012. He found it mixed in with his letters and packages. Why was he targeted? Probably because:

More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickering’s mail but told him nothing else.