How a lauded CIA veteran-turned-candidate got branded with terrorism claims


Dave Brat, the insurgent candidate who unseated Eric Cantor in 2014, is looking to fend off Democrat Abigail Spanberger by following the GOP’s 2018 midterm playbook: tie her to Nancy Pelosi, abolish ICE, and socialized medicine. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – How did a former undercover CIA operative who spent more than eight years fighting terrorism get branded as a teacher at “Terror High?”

The strange ordeal for Abigail Spanberger, now a Democratic House candidate, began when U.S. Postal Service employees wrongly delivered her confidential personnel file to Republican operatives.

Those operatives seized on Spanberger’s stint teaching Bronte and Shakespeare as one way to sink her campaign against GOP Rep. Dave Brat in Virginia.

Both Republicans and Democrats hurl dirt in campaigns. But the involvement of the postal service gives the attack on Spanberger a particularly odd twist that’s drawing outrage from national security veterans and scrutiny from investigators.

And the willingness of a Paul Ryan-aligned super PAC to publicize at least part of Spanberger’s improperly released security clearance application raises new questions about what information is fair game in today’s political climate.

“What is Abigail Spanberger hiding?” a voice asks in a GOP attack ad. “Spanberger doesn’t want us to know that she taught at an Islamic school nicknamed ‘Terror High,’ a terrorist breeding ground.” 

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