House GOP super PAC doesn't care that ex-CIA officer's security application was privacy protected

Democratic House candidate Abigail Spanberger
(Image credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Congressional Leader Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), acknowledged Tuesday that it has a confidential security clearance application filled out by Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA counterintelligence officer running against Rep. Dave Brat (R) in Virginia's 7th District. CLF said its partner opposition-research group America Rising obtained Spanberger's SF-86 file from the U.S. Postal Service legally through a Freedom of Information Act request. The document shouldn't have been released without Spanberger's permission, but CLF ran with it Wednesday.

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CLF is highlighting Spanberger's short stint teaching at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Fairfax County, Virginia, while she awaited CIA security clearance. (The 2007 Associated Press article CLF and its allies seem to be referencing begins like this: "Its most virulent critics have dubbed it 'Terror High.'") America Rising CEO Joe Pounder claims the "real reason Spanberger is so upset is official government documents show a past employer she didn't want voters to know about."

Spanberger says she personally has nothing to hide. "For them to make some sort of nefarious connection to a place where I was a long-term substitute teacher teaching AP English when a woman was out on maternity leave is just ridiculous," she told Roll Call. But CLF "attempting to weaponize an SF-86, I think is a horrible precedent." The forms include detailed, personal information like medical history, family records, and Social Security number, Spanberger added. "So the fact that CLF is now attempting to use a document that they should have never obtained to spin some story that is ludicrous, it's not only disappointing, but it is so incredibly disingenuous that I really just can't believe it." USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said the postal service is "looking into this matter."

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