WASHINGTON, August 14, 2012 – A group of former U.S. Intelligence and Special Forces is getting ready to take on the media, President Obama, and any other politician who attempts to release details of secret operations for their own political gain. Their main goal is to stop the high-level leaks of national security information.
The Special Operations OPSEC Education Funding has as its primary focus to “further the common good,” with political aspirations taking a back seat.
At the top of the to-do list for the group is to save American lives by curtailing leaks from as high up as the White House.
Reuters reports that OPSEC will be releasing a twenty-two minute film that criticizes President Obama and his administration for intentionally leaking sensitive details about covert intelligence operations. Reuters reports that the film includes Navy Seal Ben Smith saying:
“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. As a citizen, it is my civic duty to tell the president to stop leaking information to the enemy,” Smith continues. “It will get Americans killed.”
The White House has steadfastly denied leaking any classified information. However, last June Senator John McCain sought Congressional support for a special counsel to investigate leaks. Other Senators, including Joe Lieberman, expressed extreme concern over what they called White House leaks. They were joined by current and former intelligence officers dismayed by public statements about highly classified operations.
Former Navy SEAL and past congressional candidate Scott Taylor is president of OPSEC, which stands for “operational security,” the group incorporated last June as a nonprofit organization under section 501© 4, which allows the group to keep donors’ identities private.
“Intelligence and Special Operations members are angry and frustrated at how our work has been used for political advantage by officials across government, including President Obama himself who bears special responsibility as Commander in Chief,” says Taylor, “We want the American people to understand the cost of these leaks and politicization both on those who serve and on our national security, and to hold those in positions of leadership accountable if it doesn’t stop.”
Taylor says that OPSEC is a “Watchdog” organization. The film they are releasing, “Dishonorable Disclosures,” documents the recent leaks of sensitive intelligence and military operation information.
“Dishonorable Disclosures” will be shown over the next several months, including at events Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, and Nevada.
“Dishonorable Disclosures” can be seen at www.OpSecTeam.org or above, at the top of this column.
F.W. Rustmann, Jr., a former senior level CIA officer is the Chairman of the organization. Mr. Rustmann has expressed concern over the new trend in failing to protect classified information. “The CIA used to just say ‘No Comment’ because operations are classified. Now there is a tendency to try to provide explanations or information instead of retaining the confidentiality of information.” He said he was stunned, for example, about reports that the Obama White House had given a movie studio access to information about the operation against Osama bin Laden so it could make a movie about the action.
“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,” said Rustmann, “OPSEC will carry a strong message across the country that it’s time for President Obama and other administration officials to stop jeopardizing national security operations for political gain.”
While some have compared the OPSEC effort to the Swift boat ads against John Kerry in the 2004 election, OPSEC is quick to point out the differences, saying “That was personal. This is professional.”
Former intelligence officials affiliated with OPSEC note that by publicly discussing details of intelligence operations, politicans directly put American’s at risk. “Every clandestine operation the CIA and other agencies undertake is planned meticulously, down to the last detail. They take extreme care to protect sources and methods and to ensure success. When politicians leak that information as part of partisan one upsmanship, they not only undercut US actions overseas, but also jeopardize the lives of American citizens and those who help the US.”
The source cited Wikileaks as an example. “Assange thought publishing those documents was harmless and that people had a right to know. As a direct result of his actions, Taliban leaders executed tribal leaders who had provided information to Americans. Assange also told enemy forces about US military plans and strategies, as well as their location, putting them directly in harms way.”
“This is not a game.”
More information about OPSEC and news about the release of “Dishonorable Disclosures” can be found at the web site.
This article is based, in part, on wire reports.
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