Dishonorable Disclosures is a 2012 American documentary film purporting to show that the administration of President Barack Obama has endangered lives by allegedly leaking information about the U.S. military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.
The video was produced by the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc, a 501(c)(4) group which began a political ad campaign critical of President Obama and showed the video in swing states in the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election In response, the Obama Campaign compared the film to the "Swift Boat" attacks against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.
The 22-minute film alleges President Obama and his administration intentionally leaked sensitive details about covert intelligence operations. According to a New York Times report, the film attempts to portray Obama "as a braggart taking credit for the accomplishments of special forces and intelligence operatives". Included are interviews with former intelligence officers, who suggest that the White House deliberately leaked details about the raid on bin Laden's compound that could help terrorists identify the Navy SEALs involved, along with other sensitive information.
Ben Smith, identified in the film as a former SEAL, is seen 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. It will get Americans killed." Fred Rustmann, a retired CIA officer, says in the video that days after the bin Laden raid, Hollywood elites were invited to the White House to be briefed on exactly how the raid took place. Rustmann alleged that the administration leaked "what kind of sources we had, what kind of methods we used, all for the purpose of making a Hollywood movie", referring to the movie Zero Dark Thirty, which was released on December 19, 2012. Retired USMC Lt. Col. Bill Cowan alleges that Obama divulged the covert information to Hollywood for political gain, saying in the video "When we divulge national security information such as the identity of the organization that killed Osama bin Laden, we have now put all of those men, all of their families, everybody around them at some sort of risk." The film also alleges classified information was leaked about the Stuxnet virus attack on the Iranian nuclear program and Obama’s “kill list” of suspected terrorists.
Responses to Dishonorable Disclosures
In an article about the film in the "Politics" section of The New York Times, Scott Shane wrote that OPSEC described itself as nonpartisan but that some of its leaders have been involved in Republican campaigns and Tea Party groups. Specifically, Shane wrote that the film's featured former SEAL members include one whose Facebook page identifies him as a spokesman for the Tea Party Express and several Republican campaigns, and that OPSEC’s president ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for Congress in 2010. Shane asserted that the film, "in an effort to portray Mr. Obama as a braggart taking credit for the accomplishments of special forces and intelligence operatives," edited out Obama's crediting the "tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals" from his announcement of bin Laden's killing; in this regard Shane quoted Admiral William H. McRaven as having said that Obama "shouldered the burden" for this operation, "made the hard decisions," and was "instrumental in the planning process." Shane further wrote that OPSEC's president acknowledged Republican ties of some members but said that “as many or more (of the film's participants) are apolitical. ... This issue is more than just politics.”
CNN published a critical analysis of the assertions in Dishonorable Disclosures, written by CNN's National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. Bergen, author of Man Hunt: The Ten Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abottabad, asserted that what precipitated the operation going public was not Obama's announcement of the raid but the crash of the Black Hawk helicopter, Pakistani journalists arriving at bin Laden's Abbottabad compound soon after the helicopter crashed. Bergen added that U.S. Adm. Mike Mullen had advised Obama that Pakistan's top military officer, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, had asked for the U.S. to go public, swaying Obama to announce the raid sooner than was planned, Obama having wanted to wait for 100% DNA confirmation. Bergen noted that Obama's speech did not divulge the name of SEAL Team Six, instead saying that a "small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability." Bergen wrote that as discussed in multiple news stories, SEALs are the principal Special Operations Forces in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theater, and that "obviously, a mission to take out bin Laden would not be entrusted to any other than these elite units" (referring to SEALs and Delta Force), adding that it remained unclear who first leaked the involvement of SEAL Team Six. Bergen asserted it was "just plain wrong" that anyone in the U.S. government leaked the name of Dr Shakil Afridi, that this information first surfaced in The Guardian in July 2011 after Afridi was arrested by the Pakistani intelligence service. Bergen also wrote that it was entirely Obama's decision, made against the advice of both the vice president and secretary of defense, to launch the raid based on fragmentary intelligence that bin Laden might be there. Bergen asserted that the United States' use of drones in Pakistan "is one of the world's worst kept secrets," that disclosure of the Stuxnet virus attacks on the Iranian nuclear program had been reported since 2010, and that Iran publicly acknowledged the cyberattack two years earlier.
Although Obama's speech did not mention SEAL Team 6 by name, Vice President Joe Biden's speech on May 3, 2011 to the Atlantic Council Annual Awards Dinner did specifically congratulate the "Navy SEALs and what they did last Sunday."
The Obama Campaign compared the film to the "Swift Boat" attacks against Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry in 2004. A spokesperson for the campaign said, "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, and it's clear they've resorted to making things up for purely political reasons."
- Mundy, Alicia (August 15, 2012). "Faulting Obama, Former Officers Plan Ads on Bin Laden Leaks". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- "Special ops group attacks Obama over bin Laden bragging, leaks". Reuters. August 15, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Shane, Scott (August 15, 2012). "Ex-Officers Attack Obama Over Leaks on Bin Laden Raid". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2012. (WebCite archive)
- Kubin, Jacquie (August 15, 2012). "OPSEC, Operational Security group release film condemning national security leaks". Washington Times. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Miles, Kathleen (August 17, 2012). "OPSEC 'Dishonorable Disclosures' Video Says Hollywood Received Leaked Information From Obama". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
- Hashimoto, Mike (August 16, 2012). "Former special ops, CIA officers go directly at supposed Obama strength". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
- Transcript of Barack Obama's speech of May 1, 2011 (WebCite archive of 2011-05-09), Whitehouse.gov.
- Bergen, Peter (August 19, 2012). "Are 'Swift Boat' attacks on Obama bogus?". CNN.com. Archived from the original on August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. ()
- Harnden, Toby (May 4, 2011). "Joe Biden opens his mouth about US Navy SEALs". The Telegraph.
- Hosenball, Mark (August 14, 2012). "OPSEC, Special Forces Group, Attacks Obama Over Bin Laden Bragging, Leaks". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Dishonorable Disclosures at the Internet Movie Database
- Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc 
- Dishonorable Diclosures on YouTube Video on YouTube
- Official on YouTube "President Obama on Death of Osama bin Laden" showing the May 1, 2011 speech by President Obama, posted to YouTube channel "whitehouse" on May 1, 2011 (WebCite archive).
- Whitehouse.gov transcript of Barack Obama's speech of May 1, 2011 (WebCite archive of 2011-05-09) announcing the death of Osama bin Laden.