The Slatest

Benghazi Committee Whistleblower, a Republican, Is Suing Trey Gowdy for Defamation

Trey Gowdy
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Select Committee on Benghazi chairman Trey Gowdy, R–South Carolina, on Nov. 3, 2015, at the Capitol.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The whistleblower who says he was fired in part for complaining about the House Benghazi Committee’s fixation on Hillary Clinton has filed a defamation lawsuit against committee chairman Trey Gowdy, MSNBC reports. Gowdy has said that the whistleblower, former committee investigator Brad Podliska, was terminated because of “deficient performance” and that he “mishandle[d] classified information.” Podliska’s suit says the allegation about classified information is false and that committee staffers were in fact hostile toward him because 1) his work schedule was affected by his service obligations as an Air Force reservist and 2) he wanted to pursue the investigation of Benghazi-involved agencies and actors besides Hillary Clinton and the State Department. From MSNBC:

Legally, [Podliska’s] status in the military secures him a place in court that aggrieved House staffers don’t usually have. Congress passed “whistleblower” protections for most federal employees, but exempted its own staff in a self-interested loophole. Yet Podliska argues he is able to sue under The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA), a 1994 law that protects service members from employment discrimination.

Podliska is a registered Republican and told CNN that he does not plan to vote for Clinton in 2016.