Republican SEALs Oppose Obama, Film at 11
Two days ago, I pointed to a group of former special operations and intelligence officers are criticizing President Obama for politicizing the bin Laden raid and generally playing fast and lose with our nation’s secrets. I noted that, while some of their charges were “overwrought,” OPSEC’s “effort appears to be much better intentioned and honorably executed that that of the Swift Boaters” who smeared John Kerry in 2004.
Josh Rogin points to similar effort by another group, calling itself Special Operations Speaks, which is not only apparently as nutty as the Swifties but has some significant overlap.
But the founder of SOS, a similar group with the same mission and the same tactics, says he has no problem admitting that he is against Obama’s politics, personality, and believes that America’s current president is lying about his origins.
“I have to admit that I’m a Birther,” said SOS founder Larry Bailey, a retired 27-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, in an interview. “If there were a jury of 12 good men and women and the evidence were placed before them, there would be absolutely no question Barack Obama was not born where he said he was and is not who he says he is.”
Bailey, who is part of the leadership of SOS’s effort to mobilize thousands to take to the streets to denounce Obama’s treatment of the military through an SOS project called Operation Street Corner, doesn’t only believe that the president is a foreigner. He also believes that he is not actually the son of Barack Obama, Sr. Bailey trumpeted the conspiracy theory that the president is actually the love child of Ann Dunham and writer Frank Marshall Davis.
“In his books, Obama said his mentor was a fellow named Frank Marshall Davis. Frank Marshall Davis was a member of Communist Party USA, he wrote for the communist party’s Hawaii newsletter, he was a close friend of Obama’s mother, and there’s a strong case that Frank Marshall Davis rather than Barack Obama, Sr. was Barack Obama, Jr.’s father and that Barack Obama, Sr. was just an administrative father of convenience,” Bailey said.
Bailey isn’t shy about his dislike of Obama personally and admits freely that his extensive efforts to mobilize special operations veterans and their supporters around the country is rooted in his personal dislike of the president and his desire to see him replaced.
“Barack Obama’s a born red-diaper baby. He’s a socialist. His beliefs are the very antithesis of my beliefs. As far as I am concerned he is one of the most unlikeable and unprepared politicians we’ve ever had,” Bailey said. “I don’t like him because he believes that America is responsible for most of the problems in the world and he wants to cut her down to size.”
Bailey is also a veteran of efforts to portray Democrats as anti-military during previous presidential election cycles. He was involved in the 2004 effort called Vietnam Vets for the Truth, an organization that was separate from but worked with Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth to attack John Kerry’s military record. Together they organized a “Kerry Lied” rally on Capitol Hill that had 5,000 attendees.
Now, that fact that both groups have former Navy SEALs in their mix and both are going against President Obama shouldn’t lead to guilt by association.
But Steve Hynd did more digging and provides rather compelling evidence that OPSEC isn’t simply a group of concerned security professionals.
The president of OPSEC is identified by Hosenball as “Scott Taylor, is a former Navy SEAL who in 2010 ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Virginia.” What Hosenball neglects to mention, however, is that every other person he names as a member of this OPSEC group is a Republican activist and apparatchik.
Ben Smith, the ex-SEAL named above, is nowadays better known for his activist work with the Tea Party Express and Move America Forward , the pressure group set up by California Republican public relations firm Russo Marsh & Rogers. Fred Rustmann, “a former undercover case officer for the CIA who is a spokesman for the group” is the same Fred Rustman who appeared in a co-ordinated campaign on Fox News and in the conservative press claiming to be Valerie Plame’s case officer and saying that she openly acknowledged her status as a CIA agent, blowing her own cover. Larry Johnson dealt with Rustman’s claims in his testimony to Congress. Finally, Hosenball mentions “Chad Kolton, a former spokesman for the office of Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration who now represents OPSEC”. A moment’s work with Google reveals that Kolton “led the public affairs department” at DNI during the Bush administration and now is a founding partner in the D.C.-based firm of HDMK, a PR firm founded by four Republican “communications veterans”.
Surely Hosenball must have noticed, veteran reporter that he is, that every single person named as part of this group in his story was a long-standing Republican PR operative.
The Hosenball Steve refers to is intrepid Reuters reporter Mark Hosenball, whose story I relied on without doing any further vetting. While I think OPSEC’s charages are, at best, overblown, they didn’t strike me as wild because similar but less incendiary sentiments have been expressed by such sterling characters as Bob Gates and Mike Mullen. But the fact that the group’s key spokesmen are all Republican operatives certainly changes the lens through which their charges should be viewed.
Thus far, it appears that OPSEC is just a Republican shill group whereas SOS are downright crazy. But there’s not much value in either’s contribution to the discussion.