A former investigator with the Republican-led congressional committee examining the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 says he was fired after resisting pressure to focus his investigative work on Hillary Clinton and the State Department.
Air Force Reserve Major Bradley Podliska, who describes himself as a conservative Republican, told The New York Times and CNN that in March the panel abandoned its broader investigation of the events that led up to the deaths in Benghazi of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Podliska said the committee turned all of its attention to Clinton and the State Department after it was revealed that she used a private email server while she was secretary of state. The move de-emphasized other agencies involved with the attacks on the American consulate on September 11, 2012.
Podliska said he planned to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination soon that would also make the case that he was fired in part because he participated in required National Guard exercises.
Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president, and her supporters have accused House Republicans of trying to use the Benghazi committee to hobble her campaign. She recently called it "nothing but a partisan exercise.''
The committee on Saturday forcefully denied the allegations. It said in a statement that Podliska never raised such concerns while with the panel, and that he himself had inappropriately used committee resources to create a PowerPoint “hit piece” on members of the Obama administration, including then-Secretary of State Clinton.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently linked the committee's work to Clinton's sliding poll numbers and drew a rebuke from Republicans and Democrats. The California Republican stepped back from those remarks, but they damaged his effort to become the next House speaker and he dropped out of the race to succeed outgoing Speaker John Boehner.