Claims that a Republican-led congressional body probing a deadly attack on an American mission in Benghazi targeted Hillary Clinton were dismissed Sunday as "salacious allegations" by the chairman of the panel.
Clinton, who leads the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, was secretary of state at the time of the attack in the Libyan city in 2012 that left a US ambassador and three other Americans dead.
Major Bradley Podliska is preparing to file a federal lawsuit against the House Select Committee on Benghazi next month, saying in a television interview that he was fired from his role as an investigator because he opposed the panel's "partisan investigation."
Podliska, an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve, described himself as a conservative Republican.
But Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, the committee chairman, hit back Sunday, denying claims of a politically motivated witch hunt.
Podliska had multiple opportunities to bring up any concerns the committee was too focused on Clinton during his performance reviews and eventual firing, but never did, Gowdy said in an angrily worded statement.
Gowdy also said that Podliska had not mentioned Clinton over the course of an ongoing legal mediation regarding his firing in late June.
"One month ago, this staffer had a chance to bare his soul, and raise his claim this committee was focused on secretary Clinton in a legal document, not an interview, and he did not do it," Gowdy added.
Gowdy echoed a statement issued by the panel Saturday that said Podliska was fired in part due his own improper focus on Clinton and other Obama administration figures.
"I cannot say it any plainer than stating the facts: the Benghazi committee is not focused on secretary Clinton, and to the extent we have given any attention to Clinton, it is because she was secretary of state at all relevant times covered by this committee's jurisdiction."