By Tom Watson and Peter Daou
UPDATE (10/18/15): If there was any doubt about the despicable lengths to which Hillary's opponents will go to smear her, take note of the response to a "Stop Hillary" ad that aired during the Democratic debate showing the graves of Americans who perished in Benghazi. From the Washington Post:
People attacked the ad for exploiting the images of four people killed in the attack for a very partisan issue on national television.
The Post reached out to family members of all four victims profiled in the commercial. None of them had seen the commercial, but once they were given a link to the ad or heard its description, most were angry.
Reached by phone, Mary Commanday, Stevens’ mother, was furious. “I think it’s a terrible idea and if I could sue him I would,” said Commanday, who lives near Oakland, Calif. She watched the debate but only learned of the commercial after a Post reporter described it to her. “It’s an insult to someone who is dead. I think it’s a wrong use for the reputation of my son.”
More from the Boston Herald:
The mothers of two CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs killed in the 2012 attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi are outraged by a “cruel and callous” political ad that invokes images of their sons to level charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Barbara Doherty of Woburn, whose son Glen Doherty died in the attack, told the Herald, “It’s so crude and so unfeeling to do something like this. To see your own son and hear a voice coming up from the grave, it’s tasteless.”
Cheryl Croft Bennett, whose son, Tyrone Woods, died in the attacks, said the ad triggered the type of anger that she had avoided since he was killed.
“I have not been angry because it’s counter-productive. But this ad made me angry,” she said.
UPDATE (10/15/15): First Kevin McCarthy, then Bradley Podliska, now Richard Hanna:
A Republican congressman says House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was telling the truth when he made the instantly famous suggestion that the House Select Committee on Benghazi is engineered to damage Hillary Clinton. “Kevin McCarthy basically blew himself up with that comment over the Benghazi committee. Sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in D.C. is to tell the truth,” said Richard Hanna, a New York Republican, in a radio interview Wednesday.
“This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton, and I think there is also a lot of it that is important that we needed to get to the bottom of this,” Hanna told the upstate station WIBX Wednesday morning.
ORIGINAL POST (10/10/15):
The mask on the House Select Committee on Benghazi and its unethical and un-American assault on Hillary Clinton appears to have been torn away forever.
In a story by CNN's Jake Tapper and Jeremy Diamond, an Air Force Reserve Intelligence officer has accused the committee's Republican leadership of obstructing justice in the probe of the deaths of four Americans serving in Libya:
A former investigator with the House Select Committee on Benghazi is accusing the Republican-led panel of carrying out a politically motivated investigation targeting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instead of the thorough and objective fact-finding mission it was set up to pursue.
Major Bradley Podliska, an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve who describes himself as a conservative Republican, told CNN that the committee trained its sights almost exclusively on Clinton after the revelation last March that she used a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. That new focus flipped a broad-based probe of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, into what Podliska described as "a partisan investigation."
The bombshell revelation comes just a week after Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy admitted the truth about the Benghazi Committee and its investigation: that it was designed to bring down Hillary’s poll numbers. That slip cost McCarthy the Speakership.
The latest news may require Republican leaders in the House to seek legal counsel.
Major Podliska’s allegations are extremely serious; here’s more from the Tapper interview:
Podliska said he decided to come forward because the committee's skewed focus is detracting from the objective of uncovering the truth surrounding the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens: "What happened was wrong," Podliska said.
"I'm scared. I'm nervous. I know that this is, you know, I'm going up against powerful people in Washington. But at the end of the day I need to live with myself," he said. "I told my wife, I will view myself as a coward if I don't do the right thing here."
He insisted that his claim is not politically motivated, explaining that he has long been a conservative Republican -- "more on the libertarian side" -- and plans to vote for the GOP nominee in 2016.
"I am going to vote for the Republican nominee in 2016. I do not support Hillary Clinton for president," he said.
According to CNN, the whistleblower was fired for refusing to follow the Republican direction to focus exclusively on Hillary – and he will file suit in Federal court.
The New York Times provides more context:
Major Podliska, a lifelong Republican, holds a doctorate in political science from Texas A & M University and spent more than 15 years working at a federal defense agency, as an intelligence analyst for much of that time.
In September 2014, he began working for the Benghazi committee, on which his role was to investigate the way that various federal agencies in Washington responded to the attack, in which four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, were killed.
But two things changed in March, Major Podliska said. First, after revelations that Mrs. Clinton relied exclusively on a private email server for her State Department correspondence, the committee became preoccupied with the State Department’s role in the controversy surrounding the Benghazi attack and less interested in a comprehensive investigation.
Remember, Major Podliska is a conservative, yet even he could not stomach a Congressional probe that was aimed singularly at damaging one prominent public servant. "It was a classic case -- and this is me, as a conservative -- of taxpayer waste, fraud and abuse," he told CNN. "It should not have occurred."
Democrats have called for the Benghazi Committee to be disbanded. The latest shocking revelation may well accelerate that process.
Just remember this: the probe of Hillary’s emails is completely driven by politics, and by the narrative designed by Trey Gowdy and the Benghazi Committee. As we've argued repeatedly, it is long past time for the media and commentariat to stop playing along with conservative dirty tricks and to cover Hillary fairly and respectfully.
Hopefully, the disarray of the Benghazi Committee will reinforce the lesson that it is always a losing bet to play politics with dead American heroes.
Peter Daou and Tom Watson founded #HillaryMen to provide actionable analysis of the 2016 campaign focusing on the gender barrier in U.S. politics. Peter is a former senior digital adviser to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a veteran of two presidential campaigns (Kerry '04 and Clinton '08). Tom is an author and Columbia University lecturer who advises companies and non-profits on social activism.