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Posted by on Aug 18, 2012 in Politics | 16 comments

Republican SEALs Oppose Obama

A few days ago James Joyner reported that a some Navy Seals were running an ad against Obama under the name of OPSEC.  At the time he didn’t have a problem with it.  Thanks to a bit of investigation by my old blogging  partner, Steve Hynd he has changed his mind.

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.

James Joyner’s reaction:

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. (Bold Mine)

My hat is off to Mr Joyner who is one of the few honest Republicans left.


pic: Ben Smith, Ex- Seal, on the “tea party express’ bus.