Elections 2012: Obama Campaign Accuses Republicans of Smear Tactics Over bin Laden, Leaks [Video]

Barack Obama’s re-election campaign accused Republicans on Wednesday of trying to “Swift Boat” the president, a reference to hardball smear tactics used to attack the war record of Democratic Senator John Kerry when he unsuccessfully challenged George W. Bush for the White House in 2004.

In a direct attack on one of President Barack Obama’s political strengths, a group of former special operations and C.I.A. officers started a campaign on Tuesday night accusing Mr. Obama of recklessly leaking information about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other security matters to gain political advantage, reports The New York Times.

The claim was made by a group of former military and C.I.A. officers in the “Dishonorable Disclosures” video above, which aired on TV and has been viewed over 800,000 times on YouTube.

Accordinf to The Huff Post, the group called the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc (OPSEC), attacks the President for taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden and for supposedly endangering American lives by leaking high-level information to Hollywood insiders.

In a 22-minute video, OPSEC presented soundbites from former U.S. intelligence and special operations personnel – some of whom have Republican or conservative links – who accused Obama of “leaking information to the enemy” and of taking undue credit for the May 2011 operation in which U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.

They accuse Obama of claiming undeserved credit for the May 2011 U.S. raid by Navy SEAL commandos which killed bin Laden, and castigate the administration for alleged news leaks.

“Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden, America did. The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden. You did not,” Ben Smith, identified as a Navy SEAL, says in the film.

“As a citizen, it is my civic duty to tell the president to stop leaking information to the enemy,” Smith added. “It will get Americans killed.”

Moreover, retired CIA officer Fred Rustmann says in the film that days after the killing of bin Laden, Hollywood elites were invited into the White House for a briefing on exactly how the raid took place. Rustmann says the administration leaked “what kind of sources we had, what kind of methods we used, all for the purpose of making a Hollywood movie.”

According to Reuters, the Obama campaign immediately hit back.

“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,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Romney’s “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,” LaBolt said. “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 “Swift Boat” is the term that refers to the advertisements against Senator John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign. Like that effort, which attacked Mr. Kerry’s military record in Vietnam, the Opsec site goes after President Obama’s strong points on national security — specifically his role in overseeing the military-Central Intelligence Agency raid that killed Bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda, in May 2011.

Leaders of OPSEC said it is nonpartisan and unconnected to any political party or presidential campaign. It is registered as a so-called social welfare group, which means its primary purpose is to further the common good and its political activities should be secondary.

But in fact the group has strong ties with Republicans. E. Mark Braden, a Washington lawyer who advises OPSEC, said the group included Democrats and independents. But the records and web postings show that key people involved in setting up OPSEC and working on its media campaign have current or past direct ties to the Republican Party or related groups.

The Opsec group shares an office suite in Alexandria, Va., with a Republican consulting firm, the Trailblazer Group.

The Opsec’s president, Scott Taylor, is a former Navy SEAL who in 2010 ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Virginia. At the same time, a spokesman for the group, Chad Kolton, served in the Bush administration as a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence.

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