So, they have initiated a media campaign to make clear their position that the president should not get credit for the mission that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden, America did,” Navy SEAL Ben Smith says in a short film released today on the group’s website, opsecteam.org. “The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden. You did not.”
The group, Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, says it is a non-partisan group composed of veteran soldiers, Marines and intelligence officers unaffiliated with any party or campaign that is calling for an independent investigation into a series of high-level leaks of confidential information that they say compromise overall national security, founder Scott Taylor told ABCNews.com.
The group’s video quotes Arianna Huffington’s criticism of an Obama campaign ad that praises the president’s handling of the bin Laden mission.
FactCheck.org said it had no problem with that portion of the video but noted that other parts of it skew the facts, particularly when splicing together pieces of the president discussing his role in the operation.
Taylor, a veteran and one-time Republican candidate for Congress, said the campaign is intended to hold the president responsible for security leaks that originated in the White House, including details about the bin Laden raid.
“This is nothing short of gross negligence,” Taylor said. “We want people to be held accountable. The president wants credit for the burden of a tough decision to kill bin Laden, then he must also shoulder the burden of responsibility for leaks.”
Taylor said his group has already raised more than $1 million. Much of that money is set to be used for television ads that will run in battleground states.
The Obama campaign called the video “reckless rhetoric” and noted that Taylor worked for Republican political causes and has been a Republican candidate himself.
“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,” Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement. “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.
“In 2008, the president said he’d end the war in Iraq in a responsible way and refocus on taking out al Qaeda’s leaders, and few would question that he’s kept his word.”