Do Navy SEALS have the right to criticize Obama?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 22, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Laura Ingraham, in for Bill O'Reilly. And in the "Factor Followup" segment tonight, as you may know, a group of ex-military members have released a documentary critical of President Obama.

They say that he's taken credit for the death of Osama Bin Laden among other things.


PAUL VALLELY, RETIRED MAJOR GENERAL, U.S. ARMY: This is our country. This is our constitution. And we have to speak out. Finally, we have to speak out and say we will not take this anymore. Enough is enough.

BILL COWAN, RETIRED LIEUTENANT COLONEL, USMC: If I had one piece of advice for this administration, it would be the same thing that Former Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, said, "Shut the (bleep) up."


INGRAHAM: Top U.S. General Martin Dempsey expressed concern over the veterans' anti-Obama campaign.


GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The American people don't want us to be another special interest group. I mean, they just don't want that.

In fact, I think, it confuses them. But if someone uses the uniform, whatever uniform it is, for partisan politics, I'm disappointed by that. Because, I think, it does erode that bond of trust we have with the American people.


INGRAHAM: So, the question is, are these former servicemen doing a disservice by getting political or do they have every right, like anyone else, to speak out.

Joining me now from Boston is Colonel David Hunt, a Fox Military Analyst. And here with me in Washington, Patricia Degennaro, a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute.

Patricia, let's start with you. I understand when your active duty serviceman or woman that you don't want to speak out about politics, and that's pretty much standard procedure, and that makes sense.

But these people are retired and seems like if anyone has earned the right to speak out about leaks or special operations, you know, a bunch of former Navy SEALs and other special Ops guys probably have the right to do so. What's the problem here.

PATRICIA DEGENNARO, SENIOR FELLOW, WORLD POLICY INSTITUTE: Well, this is the age old discussion about the soldier in the state, right. How do we want to see our soldiers and what type of capacity.

And then what is their role. And within the Constitution, they are subordinate to their role in the people and, therefore, under the representatives of the elected individuals there.

So, we want to see our soldiers as protector of Americans, all Americans, not partisan and not being politicized basically where they are self-identifying as to a party or candidate or a specific issue.

INGRAHAM: I don't think they come out and endorse anyone necessarily. But they're critical especially of these leaks. And Colonel Hunt, Patricia here raised the point we want to see our soldiers as nonpartisan.

I understand that. But they are former servicemen, are they not. And there's no active duty folks involved in this group called OPSEC.

COL. DAVID HUNT, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, and some of them are friends of mine. And the truth is that who better can speak about stuff like operations security than people who have done that, had a t-shirt and a hat.

The problem with this ad for me is it goes a little bit too far on Obama. But it's absolutely accurate on the OPSEC. This administration as have the previous six have been leaking sieves, giving information out which is of the -- was highly-classified nature.

And what Bill Cowen who, by the way, was one of the best Marines ever to serve, with serious combat experience, he's talking about just that.

During this raid for Bin Laden, we've had the Secretary of Defense and others say this administration is giving out way too much detail. That's a really fair hit.

But when they go after and say, "Obama is taking credit for it." It went over the line politically. But there's no question. In uniform, you don't say anything.

Out of uniform, you have every right and should. And I'm glad. I think we should do more of it. It's a segment of society that just suffers, dies quietly. And I think it's time to hear us.

INGRAHAM: And I'm thinking, a lot of former military members, Patricia, they run for Congress. Obviously, people like John McCain, I understand, ran president and become president.

So, they become partisan when they become candidates. So to say, well, it's bad for them to, you know, put out these ads. I mean, Mrs. Obama does all this great work for military families.

She's out there and, I know, people criticize her for, "Oh you're politicizing the military. You're doing that to get reflective glory or to get votes from the military."

I don't know. But it seems to me military is here for all of us and they should be respected in their views. Even if we disagree with them, you know, should be out there.

DEGENNARO: Well, they are here for all of us. And I think that's the bottom line and the point. So we have to, you know, basically, the idea of having in the military is for the entire --

INGRAHAM: They think they are doing it for everybody. They think it makes everybody safer when we don't have these obscenely political leaks to make the President look better. That's why these leaks were done, to make Obama look all rough and tumble and "I'm the Commander-In-Chief."

DEGENNARO: Well I'm not sure if those leaks have been done to make Obama rough and tumble.

INGRAHAM: Oh, really. They'll hurt him politically.

DEGENNARO: We're not sure, first of all, where those leaks have come from.

INGRAHAM: They came from the top level security. They came from the White House.

DEGENNARO: No, they also came from the Congress.

INGRAHAM: From Congress.

DEGENNARO: Yes, absolutely.

INGRAHAM: Could they have come from Congress, Colonel Hunt. I might be missing this. But go ahead.

HUNT: The level of -- we're talking about special compartment intelligence. Congress doesn't have that clearance. There's no question where the leaks are coming from.

That's why the Secretary of Defense was so upset. These guys who do these operations, who prepared this for 10 years, Intelligence Special Operations guys and the pilots, don't want that kind of credit.

But they don't want also is people talking about the name of the dog - -

INGRAHAM: Achilles (ph), the agent, you know, all of those stuff.

HUNT: Exactly.

INGRAHAM: It doesn't help anyone. It burnishes political credentials and it's like gutsy call kind of deal. Looks like it's grandstanding. I appreciate it, Colonel Hunt and Ms. Degennaro. Thank you very much.

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