A former investigator with the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, has accused the Republican-led panel of obsessively targeting Hillary Clinton in a partisan attempt to discredit her.
Maj. Bradley Podliska, an Air Force Reserve intelligence officer and self-described conservative Republican, alleges he was fired from the committee because he fought to conduct a objective and comprehensive investigation into the attack, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Podliska told CNN in a piece that aired Sunday that the panel instead chose to focus solely on Clinton, following revelations in March she had used a private email server while acting as secretary of state.
"I knew that we needed to get to the truth to the victims' families. And the victims' families, they deserve the truth -- whether or not Hillary Clinton was involved, whether or not other individuals were involved," Podliska said. "The victims' families are not going to get the truth and that's the most unfortunate thing about this."
He plans to file an unfair dismissal lawsuit in federal lawsuit next month.
According to a copy of the draft complaint seen by the New York Times, the 41-year-old said he was told he was being fired for sending a social invitation to colleagues via his work email address, assigning unauthorized work to an intern, and mishandling classified information -- although he denies the latter charge and disputes the legitimacy of the other claims.
In a statement to CNN, the committee vehemently denied Podliska's claims and instead accused him of showing anti-Obama administration bias.
"We are confident that the facts and evidence give no support to the wild imagination fueling these and any future allegations, and the committee will vigorously defend itself against such allegations," a spokesperson told the network. "The committee will not be blackmailed into a monetary settlement for a false allegation made by a properly terminated former employee."
The accusation from Podliska comes after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy boasted on Fox News that the Benghazi investigation had helped to bring down Clinton's poll numbers as she seeks to run for president.
After days of scandal surrounding the comments, which Democrats seized on as evidence of the committee's alleged partisanship, McCarthy dropped out of the race to replace John Boehner as speaker of the house.
Maj. Podliska denied coming forward because he supports Clinton: "I am going to vote for the Republican nominee in 2016. I do not support Hillary Clinton for president," he told CNN.
"I'm scared. I'm nervous. I know that this is, you know, I'm going up against powerful people in Washington. But at the end of the day I need to live with myself," he said. "I told my wife, I will view myself as a coward if I don't do the right thing here."
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.