Things got intense on Friday’s Hardball when an Iraq War vet and a former Navy SEAL butted heads over a controversial documentary accusing President Obama of jeopardizing sensitive information in order to take credit for killing Osama bin Laden.
The documentary, “Dishonorable Disclosures,” was made by the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc., or OPSEC, an anonymously funded group of former SEALS and other military personnel. The video suggests that Obama put troops in danger by leaking confidential information and tried to take sole credit for killing Osama bin Laden. So far, it has racked up 800,000 hits on Youtube.
Hardball host Michael Smerconish thanked both guests for their service to our country. He asked former SEAL and current OPSEC member Gabriel Gomez if Obama deserves credit for issuing a very difficult order, especially since it included invading the sovereignty of Pakistan. The OPSEC video says Obama shouldn't get credit for bin Laden's death, but Gomez gave the president props:
“Absolutely. We’ve always been to the conclusion that the president deserves full credit for giving the green light on the operation,” Gomez said. “It was obviously a very difficult decision and a lot of his advisors were against it, and you’ve got to give him 100% credit for making the call to send the unit in to go get Osama bin Laden.”
Smerconish pointed out contrary to the video's claims that he was focused on himself, President Obama has thanked the troops time and time again (including the night bin Laden was killed), using words like, “thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counter-terrorism professionals.” So, what is OPSEC’s beef with the president?
“I think if you watch his whole presentation the night that Osama bin Laden was killed and he came out, I think that you’d come to the conclusion just like we did, I think a lot of Americans came to that same conclusion – that he focused a majority of the comments on himself as opposed to the troops. We’re not saying he didn’t thank the troops and he didn’t give credit to the troops. What we’re saying is a big majority of the presentation was focused on him and his administration. That’s the point we’re trying to make.”
Smerconish wasn’t buying it:
“Mr. Gomez, it’s an uncomfortable position for me to be in disagreement with a Navy SEAL. Here’s the transcript, sir, I know the statement very, very well and I think that’s a mischaracterization.”
Jon Soltz served as an Army Captain in the Iraq War and is the co-founder of VoteVets.org, a non-partisan non-profit that seeks to educate the American public on war and military issues. He told Smerconish that OPSEC is fringe group sending a faulty message and spreading lies:
“I think you have a lot of right wings neo-conservative activists behind this entity and so you’ve got some Navy SEAL guys that are out here… basically what he’s saying is directly different on TV than what that video says. The president clearly says in that video, thanks the troops. The president clearly ordered an operation to kill Osama bin Laden; that was a very difficult [decision] to make.”