Paul Ryan's PAC Wants To Fight Dirty With CIA Agent Abigail Spanberger? Lotsa Luck!
Yesterday the Times reported that Paul Ryan's pet SuperPAC got its hands on Virginia congressional candidate Abigail Spanberger's unredacted security clearance application, and is using it to pretend the former CIA agent worked in a madrassa. Because naturally those unpatriotic bigots would take allegedly hacked data and try to paint a covert counterterrorism operative as a goddamn terrorist. Of fucking course!
Leaving aside the wisdom of using government personnel records to smear a federal agent in a district with huge numbers of Defense Department employees who have filled out the exact same form with the expectation that that shit is private, just how the hell did the Congressional Leadership Fund get their grubby paws on a document that's illegal to release under the Privacy Act?
Well, CLF has a very good answer for that question. It's the darnedest thing! They were walking down the street the other day, and Ms. Spanberger's entire, unredacted SF86 form just fell off the back of a truck! More or less.
On July 9, 2018, America Rising Corp. submitted a FOIA request to the National Personnel Records Center "for access to certain records contained in the official civilian personnel file of former federal employee Abigail Spanberger. Specifically, this request seeks records reflecting Ms. Spanberger's employment dates, annual salaries, title, and position description."
By letter dated July 12, 2018, NPRC/NARA forwarded the America Rising Corp. request to the United States Postal Service.
On July 30, 2018, USPS responded to America Rising's request with their complete personnel file ("entire official personnel folder"), which included Spanberger's SF-86
Yeah, their story is that their oppo researchers submitted a FOIA request to the Post Office, where Spanberger had applied in to work in the security division in 2002, and the USPS happily overnighted them her entire, unredacted personnel file -- social security number, medical records, and all.
Spanberger sent CLF a cease and desist letter saying, "I am not aware of any legal way that CLF could have this document." To which the PAC responded, NUH UH TERRORIST LADY!
As a first-time candidate, @SpanbergerVA07 may not understand opposition research and FOIA requests. We understand… https://t.co/YvIi1oevFk— Congressional Leadership Fund (@Congressional Leadership Fund)1535495300.0
Just to be clear, Spanberger was a substitute AP English teacher at a school for Saudi kids in Alexandria while she was waiting for her security clearance to be processed, after which she went on to spend eight years working for the CIA. That's literally all these fuckers got on her.
But back to that "personnel file," which CLF is still swearing the Post Office overnighted them in response to a FOIA request.
According to former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, the SF86 isn't even a part of a government personnel file.
@RidT They are not even in the same system of records. The OPF is maintained under a systems of records notice (S… https://t.co/RzfaYjJ1Gb— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub)1535512219.0
CLF's oppo goons may have put in a FOIA request with the Post Office, but we're highly skeptical that's how they netted Spanberger's SF86. And so is NatSec Twitter!
@AREvers @waltshaub @HeidiPrzybyla @weareoversight I’ll race you— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1535507312.0
If we had to guess, we'd speculate that this form was stolen in a 2015 Chinese hack of the federal Office of Personnel Management, and someone is attempting to launder it through a recent FOIA request. But would the very fine people at the Congressional Leadership Fund do a lowdown, dirty thing like that? You bet your ass they would! Those are the same guys who happily gobbled up all the stolen DCCC emails that Russia could hack in 2016 and turned them into attack ads.
But this time, they may have bitten off a little more than they can chew. It's one thing to hack a political committee, but it's quite another to hack the United States government. If this FOIA is faked and the materials were either leaked or stolen, CLF is going to be exposed in about 12 hours. And even if someone at the Post Office really did fuck up and send them Spanberger's unredacted file, they got literally nothing out of it but a giant black eye.
She pitched in for a high school teacher on maternity leave? PFFFFT.
The district is historically safe for the GOP, but Cook Political has moved the race from Leans Republican to Toss Up. And Tea Party dipshit Dave Brat is running downballot from infamous white supremacist senatorial candidate Cory Stewart. Meanwhile Spanberger is riding on Tim Kaine's popular coattails in a district that Trump only took by 50 percent. No wonder they're scared!
BLUE WAVE, Y'ALL! RIDE IT!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.