Last Wednesday, the Democratic nominee in Virginia’s 7th District, Abigail Spanberger, levied a very serious charge against the Congressional Leadership Fund: That the Paul Ryan-linked super PAC had obtained her federal security clearance application from her days at the CIA and used the highly sensitive personal information in it against her for political purposes.
She wrote to the CLF:
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.”
The super PAC, the biggest ally of the outgoing House Speaker, denied the charge, of course, claiming that they had obtained the information using a Freedom of Information Act request. But Ms. Spanberger shot back that the US Postal Service, who the CLF attempted to pass the blame off to, would never have had access to such an unredacted version as the Ryan PAC had released.
What’s more, it’s hardly the first time that the PAC has used information obtained by underhanded, unethical, or possibly illegal means in order to attack a Democratic candidate.
In 2016, a New York Times report outlined how CLF had used data hacked from the DNC and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee servers to attack candidate Joe Garcia in Florida with a 30-second spot claiming that “even those backing his campaign called Garcia a flashback to the corrupt politicians of the past” — a statement based on the hacked information:
That information at the time was known to the public as having been hacked by a man using the pseudonym “Guccifer 2.0,” who claimed to be Romanian. The indictments handed down in July by Robert Mueller’s special counsel revealed that not only was “Guccifer 2.0” not one Romanian man but rather a group of Russian government agents, but that those interacting with “the” hacker knew this at the time.
With the new allegations against the CLF by the former CIA agent, the evidence that the Ryan super PAC is willing and able to use pilfered information to use against political opponents should lead Mueller’s team directly to the House Speaker’s door. And with past actions connected to the hack now publicly known to have been committed by the Russian government, warrants should be much easier to obtain and less susceptible to Republican obstruction.
Featured image via screen capture