Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer now running as the Democratic challenger to Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), is accusing a conservative PAC linked to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) of somehow obtaining her federal security clearance application to use for political attacks.
According to a Tuesday New York Times report, Spanberger wrote a cease and desist letter to the director of the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), demanding that the private form be destroyed and that the group not use any of the content.
CLF reportedly denied the charge, saying that the forms were actually obtained by America Rising, a GOP research fund, which used a Freedom of Information Act request to get the information from the Postal Service, where Spanberger once worked.
One of Spanberger’s lawyers denied that claim, saying that the clearance form, in its un-redacted form, cannot be requested under a FOIA request.
Per the Times, Spanberger says that she has evidence of CLF’s culpability: an Associated Press reporter showed her an email in which CLF sent him a copy of the clearance form. The AP did not publish a story based on the email.
Spanberger suspects Republicans will try to use her short stint teaching English at a private Islamic school funded by Saudi Arabia as attack fodder, as she is aware of polling Republicans are putting into the field to see how voters react to that bullet point on her resume.
Spanberger, who has made her race very competitive, is using this opportunity to sound the alarm for other Democrats with intelligence backgrounds running for office this year.
“I have nothing to hide,” she told the Times. “If they need a canary in the coal mine, I’m glad it’s me.”