Ex-CIA Democratic Candidate Slams GOP Super PAC for Alleged Breach After It Obtains Her Secret Security Clearance Records
On Tuesday, according to a report in The New York Times, Democratic congressional candidate Abigail Spanberger accused the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super PAC affiliated with House Speaker Paul Ryan, of improperly obtaining the federal paperwork for her security clearance for political use.
Spanberger, a former CIA officer, is now demanding that CLF immediately stop using the material. "I write as a former civil servant and as an American, in shock and anger, that you have tried to exploit my service to our country by exposing my most personal information in the name of politics," she said in a cease-and-desist letter to CLF executive director Corry Bliss. She added in her letter that "I am not aware of any legal way that C.L.F. could have this document."
While it is not clear what CLF intended to do with the documents, Spanberger told the Times that she suspects they planned to attack her for "a brief time when she taught at a private Islamic school funded by Saudi Arabia."
CLF, for its part, denies obtaining the clearance paperwork unlawfully, insisting it was the result of a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Postal Service. But an attorney for the Spanberger campaign cast doubt on this explanation, pointing out that "in this unredacted form, this is not a document that the government can provide under the Privacy Act."
Spanberger is challenging GOP Rep. Dave Brat for Virginia's 7th Congressional District. Brat, who unseated former GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a shocking primary upset in 2014, is a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus. The 7th District covers the central portion of the state and the western suburbs of Richmond, is moderately conservative, and is considered one of the most competitive elections in Virginia.