hannaThe Republican who challenged Rep. Richard Hanna in a GOP primary last year blasted his comments made in a radio interview that suggested the House investigation into the Benghazi attack was done to target Hillary Clinton, a leading Democratic presidential contender.

“Hanna’s comments on the Benghazi Committee’s investigation are insensitive and offensive to the four Americans who lost their lives in this brutal attack,” said Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, a central New York-area lawmaker. “Hanna is jumping to the defense of Hillary Clinton, now under federal investigation, who deceived the American people while Secretary of State by issuing false statements about the attack.”

Hanna, broadly considered to be a moderate Republican on key issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, defeated Tenney last year in a costly primary campaign. He did not have a Democratic challenger in November.

Hanna’s comments made on Wednesday to WIBX 950 instantly reignited a firestorm over the controversial investigation in Congress and potentially provides the Clinton campaign with more ammunition to rebut GOP criticism of her handling of the incident while secretary of state.

“I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people – an individual: Hillary Clinton.”

Hanna’s comments come amid a charged atmosphere after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a Fox News interview said the House GOP probe preceded a drop in Clinton’s popularity. Days later, McCarthy bowed out of the race to replace Speaker John Boehner.

In her statement, Tenney said the remarks “undermine” the ongoing investigation into the attack on U.S. personnel in Libya.

“The select committee was designed to investigate a crime, not for a political witch hunt. Even the Democratic Obama Administration has directed three federal investigations into Clinton’s wrongdoing, including the FBI,” Tenney said. “Hanna is wrong to claim that the committee was designed for political reasons.”