A former investigator with the congressional Select Committee on Benghazi says the probe into the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attacks that killed four Americans — including Ambassador Chris Stevens — morphed into a politically motivated mission targeting Hillary Clinton after the revelation that she used a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
“This has become a partisan investigation,” Maj. Bradley Podliska, an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve, told CNN. “I do not know the reason for the hyper-focus on Hillary Clinton.”
Podliska, who spent 10 months as an investigator for the Republican-led panel, says he was fired in June for resisting pressure to focus his efforts on Clinton.
“I was fired for trying to conduct an objective, nonpartisan, thorough investigation,” Podliska said in an interview with Jake Tapper that aired on “State of the Union” Sunday.
Podliska said he is planning to file a lawsuit against the committee over the firing next month.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the committee refuted Podliska’s claims.
“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,” the statement reads. “The committee will not be blackmailed into a monetary settlement for a false allegation made by a properly terminated former employee.”
Podliska’s comments come amid mounting calls from Clinton and other Democrats to shut down the committee.
“This committee was set up, as they have admitted, for the purpose of making a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four Americans,” an angry Clinton said on the “Today” show last week. “I would never have done that, and if I were president and there were Republicans or Democrats thinking about that, I would have done everything to shut it down.”
Clinton is scheduled to testify before the committee on Oct. 22.
Last month, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that the committee was summoned to derail the former secretary of state’s 2016 presidential bid.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy said on Fox News. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers Friday? What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought.”
But Podliska insists his motivation to come forward has nothing to do with Clinton’s candidacy.
“I do not support Hillary Clinton for president,” Podliska, who describes himself as a libertarian-leaning Republican, said. “I am going to vote for the Republican nominee in 2016.”
He said he decided to speak out because the families of the Benghazi victims deserve it.
“I knew that we needed to get 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,” he said. “The victims’ families are not going to get the truth, and that’s the most unfortunate thing about this.”
Podliska added, “Hillary Clinton has a lot of explaining to do. We, however, did not need to shift resources to hyper-focus on Hillary Clinton. We didn’t need to de-emphasize and in some cases drop the investigation on different agencies, on different organizations and different individuals.”