Have the Republicans, in an attempt to keep a Democratic former CIA operative from Congress, released her private security clearance application to the press?

Back in 2014, with the rabid support of the Tea Party and far-right talkshow hosts like Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter, Dave Brat, an econ professor at Randolph–Macon College with an Ayn Rand fetish and a talent for riling up crowds of angry voters, somehow managed to win the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th congressional district, beating out the incumbent, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, which, for those of you who may not recall, was one of the most stunning congressional upsets in United States history… Prior to Brat’s victory over Cantor in the Republican primary, a sitting House Majority Leader had never been unseated, which really demonstrates just how powerful the Tea Party’s anti-establishment message (funded by anti-government billionaires like the Koch brothers) had become by 2014. [The position of House Majority Leader was created in 1899, so Brat was the first person in 115 years to do what he had done.]

So, with all of that said, it’s kind of interesting that, just four years later, this historically solid Republican seat now seems to be in play, with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report just recently calling the race between Brat and his 2016 Democratic challenger a “toss-up.” [A Democrat hasn’t held the seat in 47 years.]

And, as you might expect, the Republicans are pulling out all the stops in order to defeat Brat’s Democratic challenger, Abigail Spanberger, a mother, Girl Scout leader, and former CIA officer. In fact, it seems as though, in hopes of hurting Spanberger’s chances, someone at a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan may have just committed a federal crime by sharing the candidate’s federal security clearance application with the press… The following comes by way of the New York Times.

…Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic candidate challenging Representative Dave Brat of Virginia, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Corry Bliss, the executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, which has raised more than $100 million to help Republicans in the midterm elections. She demanded that the super PAC destroy all copies of the form and agree to not use the information in any fashion.

“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 wrote.

The super PAC released a statement on Tuesday strongly denying Ms. Spanberger’s charge, saying that the document was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the United States Postal Service by America Rising, a separate Republican-aligned research firm.

…Ms. Spanberger, 39, said in the letter that she had “clear evidence” that the Congressional Leadership Fund had provided a copy of her security clearance application to “at least one news outlet,” adding, “I am not aware of any legal way that C.L.F. could have this document.” In an interview, she said that she suspected that the group was trying to exploit a brief time when she taught at a private Islamic school funded by Saudi Arabia.

The super PAC validated that suspicion in its response, going on at some length to try to link the school — called “Terror High” in an earlier news article — to terrorist activity.

The application was one of two that she completed for government positions, for a law enforcement job at the Postal Service and for her position with the Central Intelligence Agency.

At a political event this month, Ms. Spanberger said she was approached by a reporter for The Associated Press, who showed her a copy of the security form and said the leadership fund had provided the document on a background basis, meaning that the source would typically not be named. The reporter pulled up a copy of the form on his email, and Ms. Spanberger said she was “100 percent” certain it was hers.

The forms ask for detailed personal information about work and health and also include vital data like a Social Security number.

“I am proud of my background and my service, and not ashamed of the information I submitted,” she said. “I have nothing to hide in my background. But, as any American in a similar situation would be, I am concerned about my privacy and security.”..

OK… a few things… First, how shitty was the “Terror High” administrator who chose to hire someone who had already been offered a job by the CIA? [As I read her timeline, Spanberger, a whiz at foreign languages since childhood, was offered a job with the CIA in 2002, but didn’t actually join until 2006, having spent some of the time in between teaching at the private, Suadi-funded Muslim school noted above.] Second, do conservatives really have a problem with white, non-Muslims teaching at Muslim schools? [It seems to me that they’d be all for it, but I guess they believe that only the strictest of Muslims from Saudi Arabia should be allowed on the grounds of American Muslim schools.] And, third, if someone did really release her security clearance application in order to get it to the press that she once worked at the Islamic Saudi Academy, then that’s a big fucking deal, and someone should be going to jail.

[note: As a former CIA officer, Spanberger can’t talk about the work that she did for the intelligence agency, so I imagine we may never know the answer, but one imagines it’s possible that her stint at the Islamic Saudi Academy may have actually been connected to her work for the spy agency. At least, it seems possible to me, given what I’ve read about our efforts in the wake of 9/11 to keep tabs on Saudis within the United States.]

By way of background, you should know that, when people start working within the intelligence community, it’s required that they disclose anything and everything about their personal life that could one day be used against them by a foreign government looking for leverage over them. And it’s expected that you will come clean about everything — affairs, debt, bad habits, you name it — with the understanding being that this disclosure is not only necessary to our national security, but private and secure. And, if Spanberger is telling the truth about having been handed a copy of her highly sensitive security clearance application by an Associated Press reporter, then there’s been a serious breach… and one that could significantly impact the effectiveness of the agency and its ability to recruit qualified agents. [Have other security clearance applications been stolen from U.S. intelligence agencies?]

Here, with more on this, is a clip from the Twitter account of former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst John Schindler, who has been rallying the intelligence community to address this apparent breach.

[note: HoIS is “Hostile Intelligence Service.]

For what it’s worth, the folks at the Congressional Leadership Fund are attributing all of this to Spanberger, an experienced CIA agent, not knowing the difference between a security clearance application and something that might be FIOA-able, like a job application.

As for what’s really happening here, I have no way of knowing. I do think, however, given how desperately the Republicans want to hold on to the House, and the fact that we’ve seen them target female intelligence officers in similar ways in the past, that it’s very possible that someone made the decision to politicize domestic intelligence with the intention of firing up the racist base of the Republican Party against her. And that’s pretty fucking disgusting, no matter how you look at it.

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46 Comments

  1. John Brown
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    For too long the Dems have let the Right dominate the security, police, and military under the belief that they were actually faithful to the spirit of the Constitution and could be trusted. They have now proven abundantly that they are traitors using their privileged positions in the hard power institutions to skew the politics radically right. The Liberal center must be able to declare war on these treasonous bastards from positions of authority within these institutions. Encourage your smart young liberal kids to join the Police, the FBI, Secret Service and Military. We must be proportionally represented within these hard power forces or the fascist will forever view them as their exclusive tool to use against the will of the majority.

    Start by taking your youngsters to the youth firearms training open to the public at the Washtenaw Sportsman Club. And don’t be ashamed of your political ideology while you’re there. Patriotism isn’t something shameful, we just convinced ourselves it is because the otherside has given it a bad name. Reclaiming it is a major commitment, way beyond hanging a flag on the front of your house. Which is however a great first step to have a constant reminder of your role in the Big Picture.

  2. Concerned Michiganian
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    #Bernie2020 #BlueWave2018

    Get out there and vote in the Democrats in in 2018 and 2020!! Kick those corrupt Trumpublicans to the curb where they belong!

  3. Kit
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I like how condescending the PAC is toward her, saying that she’s just being a naive girl. Fuck ’em.

  4. Eel
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Trump is all powerful.

    He’s so powerful that he can turn CIA officers into Democrats.

  5. Ned Price by prozy
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    This raises lots of questions, but also the possibility the Trump administration is furnishing highly confidential personal information of public-servants-turned-Democratic-candidates to their political opponents. Have to get to the bottom of this.

    The @CLFSuperPAC obtained an UNREDACTED version of @SpanbergerVA07’s SF86, a highly confidential personal document never released to the public. Not even her SSN was blacked out. Either the Trump administration provided it, or a foreign adversary did.

    We cannot shrug this off.

  6. John Schindler‏ by proxy
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    UPDATE: USPS released her **ENTIRE** SF86 thru FOIA.

    People need to be fired and jailed over this. I’ve never heard of this kind of Privacy Act violation by any USG agency, ever.

    Full, impartial investigation needed, right now.

  7. Buzzfeed
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Buzzfeed: “In Unprecedented Move, The US Postal Service Released A Former CIA Officer’s Security Application to Republican Group”

    The United States Postal Service has released the entire federal security clearance application of a former CIA officer running for Congress, in what experts say is a highly unusual, and perhaps unprecedented, move, given the extensive, highly personal nature of the information contained in such documents.

    In an interview with the New York Times published Tuesday, the former officer, Abigail Spanberger, accused the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, of improperly obtaining the document, and suggested that the Trump administration may have leaked the information for partisan purposes.

    But BuzzFeed News can confirm that an unredacted copy of the federal security clearance application was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by America Rising, a research group allied with the Republican Party, which then shared it with the Congressional Leadership PAC Spanberger, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Rep. David Brat in a Virginia congressional race that has become surprisingly competitive going into the fall midterm campaign.

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/gracewyler/usps-releases-cia-officer-security-clearance-application

  8. John Schindler‏ by proxy
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    If you are one of the MANY MILLIONS of Americans who has ever filled out an SF86 (trusting USG to keep it private) call Congress right now to demand investigation. This is utter madness, with ugly implications for privacy, politics, and national security.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    You might be surprised, Eel, at how left leaning many in the CIA are, in spite of the facile FP understanding of most US anti-war leftists.

  10. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It’s been reported for a while that the Dems are trying to get (more) CIA agents elected in an attempt to stop the Trump train. It’s bizarre to see regular people thinking that is a good idea.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    “Someone at the USPS FOIA office is getting fired. If they truly managed to release this file without noticing the standard form 86 paperwork in the file there is justifiable cause to fire that FOIA officer.” – Bradley Moss

  12. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Why don’t we just dispense with the pretenses and let the CIA run government openly? Just “Here’s your leader. Oh, you have a problem with that? To the detention center with you for reprogramming.”

  13. Tim
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    The Congressional Leadership Fund is up to all kinds of shit, and a lot of it is racist as fuck.

    https://twitter.com/rubycramer/status/1034799465595658240

  14. John Brown
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    CIA running the Govt while we purge every last one of these ruskie stooge accomplices to treason is a fantastic fucking idea. HW, you want to live under a christofascist mobster autocracy? Then move to Russia. You’re a shit stain on America’s ideals.

  15. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    You are living in lala land. The rat line that propagated the phony dossier is going down. Right now the light is shining on Bruce Ohr. Phony dossier = collusion hoax and there hasn’t been one shred of evidence it is legit. When it comes to hacking how much do you want to bet it turns out to be not a foreign hack but a DNC insider? When all is said and done it will be treason for a whole bunch of the rats.

  16. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    What the hell is racist about talking about someone making money representing Libya against American families of victims of the terrorist attack?

  17. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    It seemed like a fair question, HW. I wonder if Tim will bother to answer.

  18. wobblie
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The Resistance (ie. the Democratic Party) rolls over for Trump and helps him appoint more life time judges than any other President by this time in his administration. One in seven Federal judges will be a Trump appointee, only two years into his term. It would have only taken one Senator to throw a wrench into the gears, but they would rather help him.

    But remember it is the Russians that are the cause of our problems.
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senate-democrats-trump-federal-judges_us_5b86c0eee4b0cf7b00313783

  19. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Russian collusion is a ‘baseless conspiracy theory.’ The whole thing is falling apart: the funding and sourcing of the fake dossier and how they used it to fraudulently obtain FISA warrants to spy on DJT’s campaign. To still be on board with it at this late date…damn, I feel sorry for you in a way. You are sooo lost.

  20. wobblie
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Another report on the fake “resistance”. Why am I supposed to vote for Stabenow?

    http://prospect.org/article/schumer-surrenders

  21. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I think if you weigh the inherent virtues of each candidate you inevitably will have to bear the guilt of sexism and vote for the POC. A POC is subject to greater systemic oppression than a privileged whitey, female or male. Don’t be racist. Vote for John James for US Senate.

  22. wobblie
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I know that we are supposed to vote Democratic because of the importance of the courts. Our major Democratic leaders in Congress evidently don’t care as the above articles on them enabling Trump to appoint more judges in his first two years than any modern President seems to demonstrate. Then I peruse the news and I see that a Federal Judge in Massachusetts has given the green light for the eviction of climate refugees from Puerto Rico. I read the article and low and behold the Judge was an Obama appointee.

    Supporters of the climate refugees had brought a lawsuit to prevent the evictions which were initially to have happened in June. The lawsuit was based on the discriminatory manner the Feds have dealt with the climate victims in Puerto Rico versus Texas and Florida. The Judge is allowing the evictions on the basis that the refugee supporters who are bringing the lawsuit would lose on the merits.

    Do a simple Google search “Texas Hurricane relief”, and you will see the top articles are concerning a 5 billion dollar recovery package passed by Congress in June. Hidden within the details are 100 of millions of dollars for housing assistance. Now do the same Google search for “Puerto Rico Hurricane relief” and not a single article about any action by Congress to assist our fellow citizens from Puerto Rico. And yet the Judge believed that the refugees would lose on the “merits”.

    Judge Hillman had this to say,””While this is the result that I am compelled to find, it is not necessarily the right result,” Hillman said. He said he could not order the government to do “that which in a humanitarian and caring world should be done.” If this is not a complete and total abdication of his moral responsibility I don’t know what is.

  23. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 30, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    “it’s very possible that someone made the decision to politicize domestic intelligence”

    That’s exactly what they are doing by putting her up for election: trying to put agents into Congress. If agents are in the race we need to know that. I think there should be a law that that kind of thing must be known by voters. This is the CIA we are talking about. They are ill. How does anyone not know that in this age?

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Do we know how many past members of Congress served in the CIA? I’m curious and couldn’t find the information. Bush Sr comes to mind. Not the best example; see Iran Contra. But that happened when he was VP and he had been director fo the CIA. That’s a completely different echelon of power than a freshman House Representative..

    It makes sense to me that ex-agents would want to serve now, given the President’s attacks on the Intelligence community. That’s the kind of situation that inspires people to run.

    It is however the kind of thing that makes both leftists and the alt right nervous.

    I’m not sure what you are worried about HW. It’s not like a few congress people have the power to run the government. Pretty much anything Congress does is available to the intelligence community. What scenario are you imagining, even if all the ex-CIA agents were to be elected?

  25. M
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The first President Bush was the Director of the CIA, and I suspect a lot of conservatives backed him.

  26. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Conservative is a loaded term. People who support the Bush’s have more in common with you than with me. Clinton loves Bush, Bush loves Clinton – “The son I never had” (WTF?) It’s a two-faced political dynasty that has been in control for a very long time now.

  27. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Until we beat that ass at the 2016 election that is hahahaha!

    Outside the Trump rally

    https://streamable.com/3sfu4

  28. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    HW– you did not answer my question.

  29. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    What was your stupid question again? Why does it matter if agents run for office? Mmm, could be because the agency has an agenda? Stupid.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    What power would they have?
    Doesn’t everyone in politics have an agenda?
    Isn’t that the point?
    Also why are you more suspicious of our own intelligence agencies and their influence over few freely elected representatives than the Kremlin and its apparent influence over the President ?

    Very curious.

    It must be hard for you to live in this country, hating it as you do.

  31. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    How dumb are you? You are trying to have some kind of a wave, are you not? Congressmen VOTE, do they not? You understand they are running as dems, do you not? Learn to THINK, Jean.

  32. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The other part is because there is no Russian influence on Trump. That’s what your trustworthy agencies cooked up to frame our President with. It’s treason. They tried to overthrow our elected government. That’s the side you have chosen. It’s not going to go well.

  33. wobblie
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Trump has so many criminal connections that he has no idea where the next “rat” will come forward.

    https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/mueller-makes-major-connection-tying-secret-ukrainian-money-to-trump-inauguration/

  34. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Woah, that sounds awful. I think you might really have a shot at finally taking down the President this time. I’m scared. I know absolutely nothing that you people have gotten your hopes up about has panned out so far but this time it might really be it!

  35. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Whoah, big time criminality there! You might finally have stumbled on the little bit of kryptonite that will TAKE DOWN this so-called HERO of the PEOPLE!!!

  36. Sad
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Aww fuck, HW is back?

  37. Jean Henry
    Posted August 31, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    That’s not very civil of you, SAD

  38. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Aww shit – you are in for another ass kicking. That kind of feeling, Sad?

  39. Sad
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t really engage you like that HW, but whateves.

    Do what you have to do….

  40. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Do U heart CIA 2?

  41. Sad
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    No but I ❤️ the media. All of it. Much, even MM although he provides a platform for you.

  42. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    If you heart (nice trick – how’d you do that?) all the media then you do heart the CIA.

  43. Sad
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    You think MM is CIA? You’re hilarious HW.

    Have a good weekend.

  44. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    That’s not what I said. I said if you love all media then you love the CIA. Mockingbird is obviously very much still in effect. However a whole bunch of you seem to love and trust The Company so in that sense, yes. I don’t think there are any actual agents or assets among you but that in itself is terrifying. You took the blue pill a long time ago and it is going to take a big old smack on the back to make you cough it up.

  45. wobblie
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    HW, John Edwards was taken down over payments to his mistress and campaign finance violations. I know to you Trumpits it seems so petty, but even misdemeanors can be grounds for impeachment (it is like you have 0 knowledge of history or how politics in the US works, much like your superhero Trump).

  46. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 1, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    What violation is it if Trump paid for something? Grasping at straws. What are you going to say when all your people are fzoked? Don’t you pay attention to Congressional inquiries? The whole thing is unraveling: the fake dossier paid for by Clinton and the corrupt FBI/DOJ using it to spy…It’s treason. How is it not? You have to claim the dossier is factually correct for it not to be and there has been no evidence of that shown after all this time. I told you it was bull from the start and there hasn’t been a sliver of a shred of evidence for you to hang your hat on. Yet here you are still trying to say it’s me who knows nothing.

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