It was early last month when Bradley Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve and a former Benghazi Committee investigator, dropped a political bombshell: he claimed he was fired from the Republican-led panel because he tried to focus on the 2012 terrorist attack instead, instead of targeting Hillary Clinton.
Podliska, a lifelong conservative Republican, alleged that his “non-partisan investigative work conflicted with the interests of the Republican leadership, who focused their investigation primarily on Secretary Clinton and her aides.” The story confirmed the worst fears about the taxpayer-financed witch hunt, launched by GOP-led Congress against a leading Democratic presidential candidate.
A day after the accusations surfaced, Podliska’s lawyers also alleged Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and his team violated government confidentiality rules and federal law when they pushed back publicly against the former investigator’s claims.
Today, MSNBC’s Ari Melber reports that the controversy is now the basis for a new federal lawsuit.
Gowdy previously said Podliska was terminated partly for mishandling classified information. The suit cites Gowdy’s claim from a press release and an interview with NBC News, and argues it was a damaging line of attack, since allegations of such a “serious crime” have “ended the careers of many professionals in national security-related industries.”But the charge was totally false, the suit says, because the information Podliska handled was drawn entirely from “sources from the Internet.” Podliska adds that the committee staffer who made the allegation later admitted the material “was not classified.” The committee has not withdrawn the allegation.
Note, Podliska has filed a defamation suit, but he’s not seeking any financial damages. Rather, as Melber reported, Podliska is “calling for a statement establishing that Gowdy’s allegation was false, and asking the Court to bar Gowdy from repeating it.”
For more on the controversial Benghazi Committee, check out some of our coverage from last week, and for more on the new lawsuit, note Melber talking about the case with MSNBC’s Kate Snow this afternoon.