Based on the dogged reporting of investigative journalist and Yahoo News contributor Jana Winter, Americans have recently learned about the covert internet surveillance operation being inexplicably run out of the U.S. Postal Service. The operation, charmingly dubbed “iCop,” targets citizens’ social media posts, and both the exact ends of this invasive effort and the legal authority under which it exists are unknown. Winter joins Michael Isikoff, Daniel Klaidman and Victoria Bassetti on this episode to discuss the fruits of her reporting and the implications of her findings and to ask why Democrats have not risen to the occasion to protect their constituents.
Plus, author Brad Stone joins to talk about his new book, Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire. They discuss some of Amazon’s unlikely successes (like Alexa), and notorious failures (like the Fire phone), as well as the scandalous episode where some of Bezos’s intimate text messages were leaked to the public.
Jana Winter (@janawinter), Investigative journalist; contributor, Yahoo News
Brad Stone (@BradStone), Author; head, Global Technology coverage, Bloomberg
Michael Isikoff (@Isikoff), Chief Investigative Correspondent, Yahoo News
Daniel Klaidman (@dklaidman), Editor in Chief, Yahoo News
Victoria Bassetti (@VBass), fellow, Brennan Center for Justice (contributing co-host)
“House Votes to Create Capitol Riot Commission” by Nicholas Fandos (May 19, New York Times)
“Facial recognition, fake identities and digital surveillance tools: Inside the post office’s covert internet operations program” by Jana Winter (May 18, Yahoo News)
“Chief postal inspector tells lawmakers that social media monitoring began after George Floyd protests” by Jana Winter (Apr. 30, Yahoo News)
“The postal service is running a ‘covert operations program’ that monitors Americans’ social media posts” by Jana Winter (Apr. 21, Yahoo News)
Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone (Simon & Schuster, 2021)
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone (Little, Brown, 2013)