“But he has tolerated publicizing the details of the operation to kill the leader of al Qaeda; those leaks exposed the tactics and techniques of our Special Operations forces and denied our nation an unprecedented intelligence opportunity,” the platform says.
Criticism over the national security leaks was one plank of the GOP’s national security and foreign policy platform, an area where Obama is thought to enjoy a rare position of strength for a Democratic presidential candidate.
Obama’s campaign has pointed to his foreign policy credentials that include the killing of Osama bin Laden, drawdowns in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ousting of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Romney has mostly ignored foreign policy on the campaign trail as the issue has taken a backseat to the economy and jobs in the race for the White House.
The GOP titled its national security section “American Exceptionalism,” where Republicans knock Obama for “leading from behind” and accuse the Obama administration of displaying weakness toward “some of the gravest threats to our national security this country has faced.”
The platform specifically criticizes Obama over the threat of sequestration, the $500-billion cut to defense that the military says would be devastating. It accuses Obama of supporting sequestration, though he has said he does not want to see the cuts go into effect, in what’s become a political blame game over who's at fault for the cuts set in motion in last year’s Budget Control Act.
The platform knocks the administration for reducing the size of the Army and Marines — which it says would be worse under sequestration — as well as for proposing cuts of seven Navy cruisers and six Air Force tactical squadrons in the 2013 budget. The Pentagon cuts to the National Guard that have been rejected by Congress are also opposed in the platform.
On Afghanistan, Republican criticize the president for withdrawing 30,000 “surge” troops in the midst of the campaign season, but do not weigh in on President Obama’s 2014 withdrawal timetable, which Romney also backs.
The platform does not side with defense hawks like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Syria, as it does not mention arming the rebels or providing no-fly zones that McCain and others have advocated.
Instead, the platform states on Syria: “We support the transition to a post-Assad Syrian government that is representative of its people, protects the rights of all minorities and religions, respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors, and contributes to peace and stability in the region.”
The recent outrage over national security leaks that the GOP included in its platform has emerged in the past three months, after lawmakers in both parties criticized disclosures in a report that the United States launched a cyberattack on Iran.
Republicans accused the White House of leaking for political gain and called for a special counsel to independently investigate the leaks, but the Obama administration said its investigation under the Justice Department by two U.S. attorneys was sufficient. Obama said GOP charges that the leaks were politically motivated were “offensive.”
The platform paid particular attention to the bin Laden raid, as Republicans were angry with two filmmakers receiving access to CIA officials for the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie was originally set to be released in October but was pushed back until December, after the election.
The platform said that the long-term security of the military has been threatened by “the current Administration’s efforts to sacrifice our national security for political gain and a partisan agenda.”
Democrats have countered that the George W. Bush administration had some leaks of its own, most notably the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.