Spec Ops to Obama: Someone else made that bin Laden kill happen
The Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund is a group of former Special Forces and intelligence operators, including Navy SEALs, which has come together to speak out against the politicization of sensitive military operations. While the group states it is non-partisan, it is strongly critical of the current Administration, particularly in two areas: President Obama’s use of the Osama bin Laden takedown for political purposes, and the dangerous national security leaks that have been occurring recently. It is widely believed these leaks originated somewhere in the White House, for the purpose of polishing President Obama’s national security credentials before the election.
OPSEC introduced itself with a hard-hitting video called “Dishonorable Disclosures”:
“Intelligence and Special Operations forces are furious and frustrated at how President Obama and those in positions of authority have exploited their service for political advantage,” reads a statement from OPSEC accompanying the video. “Countless leaks, interviews and decisions by the Obama Administration and other government officials have undermined the success of our Intelligence and Special Operations forces and put future missions and personnel at risk.”
However sincere OPSEC’s declaration of non-partisan intent might be, they are inevitably going to inflict significant political damage on an incumbent President who is running for re-election, and considers War on Terror actions like the bin Laden kill to be a powerful asset on the campaign trail. Every media report on the “Dishonorable Disclosures” video has been sure to include a reference to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of Vietnam veterans who spoke up against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s claims of heroic military service. Democrats love to portray the Swift Boat group as somehow dishonest or “discredited,” even though no one ever “discredited” what they were saying. Democrats just chant the word like a magic spell in media interviews.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt gave the media its marching orders by making the Swift Boat comparison explicit: “The Republicans are resorting to Swift Boat tactics because when it comes to foreign policy and national security, Mitt Romney has offered nothing but reckless rhetoric. His two major foreign policy speeches never even mentioned Al Qaeda once, and he hasn’t outlined a plan for America’s relations with a single region of the world.”
To date, no one has alleged any sort of connection between Mitt Romney and OPSEC. It’s the Obama campaign that is suspected of illegally colluding with the Super PAC that ran the disgusting “Mitt Romney killed my wife” ad, and has been repeatedly caught lying about its knowledge of the individual featured in that advertisement. Listening to LaBolt might almost make you forget that the Obama campaign team produced a football-spiking campaign ad, on the anniversary of the bin Laden raid, that strongly insinuated Mitt Romney wouldn’t have the guts to green-light such a mission.
The New York Times displayed considerable skepticism towards OPSEC’s claims of non-partisan intent, making a point of noting that “some of its leaders have been involved in Republican campaigns and Tea Party groups.” This turns out to mean that one member of the group was “a spokesman for the Tea Party Express and several Republican campaigns,” while another ran as a Republican candidate for Congress two years ago. The group also sublets office space from a Republican consulting firm, one of whose partners says he is personally acquainted with some OPSEC members. It’s really shocking to learn that a lot of military vets have conservative political inclinations, and that people who would organize a political action group might have some prior experience with political activism.
The Times also makes some amusingly weak efforts to shield Obama from OPSEC’s criticism, including the implication that OPSEC is unfairly omitting Obama’s occasional words of congratulation for the military commanders and special operators who actually conducted the bin Laden raid – as if that somehow neutralizes the basic charge that he’s been offensively employing the raid as a political tool, and endangering Navy SEALs by pushing information about SEAL Team Six into the media. Nowhere in their video does OPSEC accuse Obama of claiming he parachuted into Pakistan and personally iced Osama bin Laden.
Also, the Times attempts to deflect OPSEC’s charges about national security leaks by noting that “the Administration has also overseen an unprecedented number of prosecutions for press disclosures, and in June, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. directed two United States attorneys to investigate leaks discussed in the OPSEC video.” It’s cute when lefty media outlets pretend Eric Holder can be trusted to run an investigation that could destroy Barack Obama. And boasting of the Administration’s “unprecedented number of prosecutions for press disclosures” is a non-sequitur when discussing specific accusations about White House staff releasing national security information to the media.
It remains to be seen how effective OPSEC will be, since a great deal of the electorate is already pretty well set in its opinion of Obama’s military actions, including hard-Left anti-war types who would be screaming in blood-curdling horror if a Republican president bragged about his “kill list” of drone-strike targets. At the present time, it appears voters are heavily focused upon domestic economic issues, and there’s a general sense of neutral to positive content with Obama’s terror-fighting record. On the other hand, many of the people who will view “Dishonorable Disclosures” already agree with the case it makes. But we still have a long way to go before the election, and national security developments – or maybe even that Justice Department investigation of security leaks – could change the equation.