Ex-Benghazi staffer drops charge that panel targeted Clinton

Ex-Benghazi staffer drops charge that panel targeted Clinton
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A former staffer on the House Select Committee on Benghazi is dropping his allegations that the special panel was created to target Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonObama intel chief wonders if Trump is trying to make 'Russia great again' Trump Jr., Manafort reach deal to avoid public hearing next week House Intel panel to interview Kushner amid Russia probe MORE.

In November, Bradley Podliska claimed that the panel’s investigation had a “hyper-focus on the State Department and Secretary Clinton.” 

But in the months since then, the Republican staffer’s lawsuit has quietly dropped any mention of Clinton.

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29-page amended version of his complaint filed in February doesn’t mention the former secretary of State's name once.

It's a striking about-face for Podliska, and will surely serve as some belated vindication for Republican leaders on the select committee who denied his claims.

Podliska’s omission of his previous allegations about the committee’s connection to Clinton was first reported by Politico on Thursday. The news outlet also previously reported that the link to the Democratic presidential front-runner was absent in a preliminary legal document from last September, before the lawsuit was formally filed.

Podliska, an Air Force Reserve major, made the notable claim last year that he was fired from the Benghazi Committee for refusing to follow its turn into a political attack dog against Clinton and the State Department. In his lawsuit, Podliska also claims that he was “singled out” because of his military obligations.

The initial claim came at the same time other prominent Republicans appeared to question the committee’s purpose, dealing a devastating blow to the panel’s integrity. Around the time that Podliska went public with his allegations, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) also linked the committee’s work to Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The flap over the committee’s legitimacy as an investigative probe came shortly before Clinton’s high-profile, marathon appearance in front of the panel.

In the February amended filing, however, Podliska limits his complaints about the committee to his time in the Air Force Reserve.

His firing last June “followed months of increasing hostility towards Podliska because he left work to fulfill his military obligations as a reservist,” Podliska’s lawyers claimed in the amended complaint.

After he voiced his complaints last year, Podliska claims that Gowdy and other Republicans “responded by intentionally defaming” him and “making numerous false allegations.”

The committee has resoundingly refuted all of the allegations. Instead, Podliska was fired for mishandling classified information, it has claimed.

In a February filing, lawyers for Gowdy accuse Podliska of trying to hold the GOP chairman “individually liable for Mr. Podliska’s personal publicity tour.” 

“Mr. Podliska’s suit against Chairman Gowdy lacks any perceptible merit,” the lawyers added.