Published August 15, 2012
Aug. 15, 2012: President Obama speaks at a campaign event at the Alliant Energy Amphitheater in Dubuque, Iowa.(AP)
A group of former military and intelligence operatives launched an aggressive campaign against President Obama Wednesday, accusing the president of claiming undue credit for the Usama bin Laden raid and suggesting his administration is behind politically motivated security leaks.
The group, called Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc., unveiled a 22-minute video on its website, and pledged to go on air with a TV ad sometime in September.
In the video, an array of retired CIA agents and other intelligence personnel suggest the administration has been leaking security details for political gain, and specifically criticize the president over his public handling of the bin Laden raid.
"Mr. President, you did not kill Usama bin Laden. America did," Navy SEAL Ben Smith said in the video. "The work that the American military has done killed Usama bin Laden. You did not."
The web video showed clips of Obama's press conference in early May on the Pakistan raid, highlighting his comments about directing the mission. The video left out the rest of the remarks in which Obama thanked the "countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals" involved.
So far in the presidential campaign, Vice President Biden has most frequently made the bin Laden raid a theme in political speeches.
On Wednesday, he repeated the quip that he's proposed a campaign bumper sticker: "Usama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."
The Obama campaign, though, dismissed the video out Wednesday as akin to the "Swift Boat" ads rolled out against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004.
"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. "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."
The group, while reportedly claiming to be nonpartisan, is led by a former Navy SEAL who once ran for Congress as a Republican.
The group seems to be most focused on the controversy over security leaks. Those leaks are currently under investigation by Justice Department attorneys.
The narrator in the video says former military and intelligence operatives who understand the importance of operational security "have had enough."
"Their mission -- stop the politicians from politically capitalizing on U.S. national security operations and secrets," the narrator says, as a picture of Obama flashes on screen.
Obama has condemned the leaks. He said in June that the issue is "a source of consistent frustration" for his and prior administrations.
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