The Postal Service Is Our Duke Of The Week

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor creepy Paul Ryan PAC…

The Postal Service often conjures images of quaint, nice things. Things like friendly mail carriers in goofy hats and shorts, the cute mini-mail trucks, stamps, the specialness of getting a letter in this digital world. It does not usually connote spies, doxxing and Islamophobic political attacks.

But this week, the post office is caught in the middle of a snarl where ex-CIA officer Abigail Spanberger, who’s running a surprisingly competitive race against Rep. David Brat (R-VA), discovered that a Republican-aligned PAC had somehow obtained her 124-page classified personnel file (called an SF-86) and was using it for opposition fodder.

Spanberger had worked for the Postal Inspection Service, the security arm of the post office, explaining how they had her file (which includes things as sensitive as her social security number).

America Rising, a Republican research firm, requested the form under a Freedom of Information Act request. Shockingly, extensive personal information, like an SF-86, does not fall under the purview of that law, especially in its unredacted form. But, when the postal workers were distracted hunting for those glue stick things lest they have to touch their tongues to the nasty letter strip, someone scribbled their John Hancock and sent out the packet of her personal information.

Maybe. We don’t know what happened and how malicious the intent was. The post office has apologized and seems to be blaming it on a woman in Human Resources. As for Spanberger, that explanation makes her “incredulous.”

America Rising, likely shocked by their good luck, sent the packet to their good buddies at the Congressional Leadership Fund PAC — a group closely aligned with a certain blue-eyed, black-haired, athletically-built, aw-shucks-I’m-just-a-nice-guy-from-Wisconsin-who-wants-to-redistribute-wealth-upward-forever House leader.

N.B. America Rising contends it did nothing wrong and says they don’t want the stupid thing anyway.

CLF seems to have more of an interest, as well as approximately zero qualms about using her extremely detailed and sensitive information.

“As is its right, C.L.F. will disseminate this information through all available means so that voters can reach an informed conclusion regarding their choice at the polls on Nov. 6, 2018,” wrote Megan Newton, a lawyer CLF, according to the New York Times.

Spanberger caught on to the plot when a reporter for the Associated Press showed her an email from CLF containing a copy of the personnel file. That particular enemy of the people chose not to publish the document.

Spanberger’s suspicions were confirmed when she heard about polling in the field testing how people reacted to a stint she did substitute teaching at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia (except they called it “Terror High” — unrelated note, Spanberger worked in a COUNTER-TERRORISM department at the CIA).

How did the ex-CIA official sleuth that out, you may wonder? Well, turns out she just waited until the dummies called one of her supporters.

Spanberger continues to accuse America Rising and CLF of obtaining the documents illegally, and is calling on them stop using the information to prove that they are “reliable, trustworthy, of good character and loyal to the United States.” That’s likely.

For letting their sweet, nice, old-fashioned corner of the government be sullied by the shadiest, slimiest, most unethical players in it, the Postal Service (sigh) is our Duke of the Week.

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Notable Replies

  1. Nope. Sorry. It’s still tRump by a mile.

    So far the man has tweeted 6x’s this morning during McCain’s funeral, which is beginning to pile in people at the National Cathedral. Oh that’s right, everyone is there except the Toddler in Chief…

  2. So are there any bets that this breech of trust will result in making harder for anyone getting a FOIA request in the future?
    So who is running, and I mean the day-to-day, operations at CLF?

  3. Avatar for jmacaz jmacaz says:

    Maybe. We don’t know what happened and how malicious the intent was.

    Can we get some reporting on who released this? Why do we just blame the Post Office, do we know that the person who released this did not do it maliciously? The Post Office is one of Trump’s favorite whipping boys, and I would not be surprised to find out the release was made by a Trump Toady

  4. Avatar for milord milord says:

    Sadly, TPM got it wrong this week.
    Why would you blame the entire postal service for one possibly bad actor who may have merely committed an accidental error? You do not hold the entire Salvation Army accountable because one of their Santas is missing his pot of coins. I thought DotW was reserved for intentionally wicked or heinous performances.

  5. The biggest unanswered question is what made America Rising even bother to file a FOIA request for this in the first place? Anyone involved in doing any sort of research on government operations would have to know that you can never get someone’s personnel file. FOIA doesn’t provide access to that under any circumstances. The most you can get from a Federal agency is a confirmation of employment, as in “Billy Joe Bubba was employed by our agency from Mar. 1, 1992, through Apr. 22, 1993, in the Office of Hemming and Hawing, as a Management Analyst at the GS-13 level.” That’s pretty much the extent of it.

    So why did AR file the request? Did they have a strong hint that someone at USPS would just pop the file in an envelope and ship it off to them?

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