The battle for Republican Dave Brat’s suburban Richmond congressional seat has spawned a flurry of TV ads on a subject few saw coming as the midterms kicked off: Democrat Abigail Spanberger’s substitute-teaching job at a Saudi-funded Islamic school in Northern Virginia.

Spanberger taught English literature at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria for part of the 2002-2003 school year as she was waiting out the long security-clearance process needed to work as a postal inspector and CIA officer.

Critics have dubbed it “Terror High” because some students joined al-Qaeda years after graduating. Spanberger received two federal security clearances after disclosing her teaching work to the Postal Service and the CIA, which eventually sent her overseas as a covert agent fighting terrorism.

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