Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert said on Thursday that a group of former Navy SEALS “don’t have guts” after the special forces operators launched a media campaign condemning the Obama administration’s national security leaks.
#kindalame former Navy SEALs don’t have guts to admit they’re running a GOP, anti-Obama campaign; http://nyti.ms/N2nYYj ” Boehlert wrote on Twitter Thursday morning.
The group Boehlert lashed out at is called the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund and it’s composed of former U.S. intelligence and specials forces operators. They describe themselves as non-partisan and finger the current president as an example of a politician who uses national security secrets for political gain.
“STOP the politicians, President Obama and others, from politically capitalizing on US national security operations and secrets!” reads the organization’s website.
Scott Taylor is a former Navy SEAL of eight and a half years, and was a 2010 GOP candidate for Congress. He is now a member of the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund.
Taylor responded to Boehlert’s tweet in a phone interview with The Daily Caller and said that his group of special forces operators is “clearly not gutless.”
“We’re clearly not gutless. We’re in the public right now, completely out there,” Taylor said.
“Everything’s out there. It’s interesting how the left is trying to frame this as a partisan issue. I don’t care what party people are from within our group,” Taylor said. “This issue is about national security leaks.”
“I wonder how many of this guy’s close friends he’s buried,” he added, referring to Boehlert.
Taylor told TheDC that his group also contains liberal members who are concerned with national security leaks, one of whom is preparing to speak out in public. “The reason why we’re standing up right now is to ensure the protection of future operations and our brothers and sisters who are forward right now.”
Taylor also responded to a claim by an anonymous Obama campaign spokesman who said Wednesday, “No one in this group is in a position to speak with any authority on these issues and on what impact these leaks might have.”
“This is the group, the very group that would have the most authority and knowledge about the impact of leaks,” Taylor told TheDC. “I can tell you, the vast majority [of active special forces operators] support this message.”
Boehlert accusing Navy SEALs of being gutless has inflamed conservatives online, who view Boehlert as the face of liberal smears emanating from Media Matters for America.
“Boehlert is such a straight up Obama boot licker that he actually smears former Navy SEALs who don’t like the fact that President Obama’s administration is leaking sensitive information that could put current SEALs in danger,” reads a reaction post on The Right Sphere, a conservative blog.
Sonny Bunch, managing editor for the Washington Free Beacon, wrote on Twitter, “Dear God: All I ask before I die is that you let me witness Eric Boehlert call a Navy SEAL a coward to his face.”
There is some irony in Boehlert accusing a political group of hiding its affinity for, or opposition to, a particular candidate.
Media Matters, as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, is forbidden from explicitly endorsing or opposing a candidate for elected office. But as TheDC has previously reported, the group has steadily expanded its support of Obama as he mounts up his 2012 re-election campaign.
A spokeswoman for Media Matters did not respond to a request for comment for this report.
Watch the Special Operation OPSEC Education Fund video: