- By Josh Rogin
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.
The lead spokesman for OPSEC Education Fund, a group of former special operations soldiers attacking President Barack Obama’s national security credentials, has a long record of questioning the president’s birthplace and religion, and calling him names like “Commander-in-Chief Hussein Mao-bama,” trumpeting conspiracy theories, and insulting Muslims.
Former Navy SEAL Ben Smith is often quoted representing OPSEC Education Fund, a group of former special operations members who accuse the president of allowing leaks about classified military operations and taking undue credit for the work of special operations forces, such as the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden.
The group claims to be non-partisan, although the New York Times has reported that several of its members have been involved in Republican campaigns or have been associated with the Tea Party in the past.
Smith, who is featured in OPSEC’s 22-minute video “Dishonorable Disclosures,” was not only a spokesman for the Tea Party Express, he has a long record of writings that seek to portray the president as a foreign-born imposter bent on driving a socialist-Marxist agenda.
Following the president’s January 2012 State of the Union Address, Smith wrote on his Facebook page, “This speech was given by the Heir Communist-in-Chief Hussein Mao-bama.”
Smith then wrote that Obama had used “some bad tan lotion because he looked like an old bruised Banana which made me think that Harry Belafonte was walking out to give his rendition of ‘Day-O’ before ‘ole’ suck and blow’ was to come out and enlighten us with his blasphemous spew.”
“You are an Imposter, You are a Muslim (Cassius Clay, Lew Alcindor, Barry Soetoro), You are the Manchurian President and may you go back to the country you were born in when you are deposed you little, little man (and take all your communist sympathizers with you),” Smith wrote. “You insult everything that was considered American. May you and your administration be a lesson to history and your posterity be lost to the rebirth of AMERICAN PATRIOTISM!”
Despite having previously called Obama a Muslim, on Monday Smith took to his Facebook to claim he is not absolutely sure the president was born outside of the United States. “I am not a birther – I have my doubts like the rest of us,” he wrote. Today, he added, “I AM AS MUCH A BIRTHER AS THE PRESIDENT IS A CITIZEN. This is in response to [Obama’s] comment that we are birthers.”
In fact, Obama did refer to the special operations groups aligned against him Monday and said he understood one of them believed he was not born in the United States. “I don’t take these folks too seriously. One of their members is a Birther who denies I was born here, despite evidence to the contrary,” the president said.
The Cable reported last week that Larry Bailey, founder of a separate but similarly motivated group Special Operations Speaks (SOS), proudly admits to questioning Obama’s origins. Smith is not a member of SOS.
Smith’s controversial comments are not limited to whether or not he believes Obama was born in the United States. In fact, his Facebook page has so many examples of comments insulting the president that a website has sprung up to collect them, just in case Smith erases them. The site, “whoisformernavysealbenjaminsmith.com,” is updated regularly. It is not clear who is behind this effort.
The site documents Smith’s March 19, 2012 Facebook posting, which included the line, “Mr. President, are you or have you ever been a believer or follower in any Islamic faith?” The site points out that Smith often accuses Obama of trying to turn America into a “Marxist-Socialist” society.
In a Feb. 20, 2012, Facebook post, Smith tied the U.N.’s Agenda 21 for sustainability, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, to the idea that its promoters were trying to consolidate political power into a single international governing entity.
“Do your research on this one guys, one of the more serious issues with a nice ‘Sustainable’ or ‘Green’ exterior but a Communist One World Government core taking your sovereignty,” Smith wrote.
Smith has also written that Obama is working toward building a world “Caliphate through the incrementalism of Socialism.”
Smith is also a regular contributor on Fox News and contributes frequently to the Radio Patriot blog. Smith posted one appearance on the Geraldo Rivera show where he admits to being anti-Obama and talks about his feelings about Muslims who are aligned against the United States.
“I am an American and I am not exactly for this administration,” he said. “We would hunt them down, as per the American citizen. We would chase them to the ends of the Earth, and we would take every bacon-hating… of American-killing in them, if we can.”
Smith did not respond to a request for comment.