The parents of four U.S. servicemen killed when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, including members of Virginia Beach-based SEAL Team 6, are suing Vice President Joe Biden and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, alleging that they prompted the attack by divulging the SEAL team's role in killing Osama bin Laden.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, also names Iran, Afghanistan and Afghan President Hamid Karzai as defendants.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting down the Chinook transport helicopter on Aug. 6, 2011 - three months after the U.S. assault on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, in which the al-Qaida leader was killed.
Eight Afghan troops and 30 American military members were killed in what was the deadliest assault on U.S. forces in the Afghanistan war.
The lawsuit alleges that Biden and Panetta revealed the Navy SEALs' role in the bin Laden mission, making them targets for a retaliatory attack.
U.S. officials said none of the SEALs killed in the shootdown was involved in the bin Laden mission.
The lawsuit further alleges that the Afghan commandos on the helicopter were last-minute replacements who were not properly vetted and, in concert with Karzai, disclosed classified information to the Taliban that resulted in the fatal attack.
"Adding insult to injury," the lawsuit adds, the U.S. military, "while prohibiting any mention of a Judeo-Christian God, invited a Muslim cleric to the ramp ceremony for the fallen Navy SEAL Team VI members, who disparaged in Arabic the memory of these servicemen by damning them as infidels to hell in the name of Allah."
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the lawsuit's characterization of the cleric's Quranic recitation and prayer is based on an inaccurate and misleading translation.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Billy and Karen Vaughn, parents of SEAL commando Aaron Vaughn; Charles and Mary Ann Strange, father and stepmother of Navy cryptologic technician Michael Strange; Sidh Douangdara, father of Navy dog handler John Douangdara; and Doug and Shaune Hamburger, parents of Army National Guardsman Patrick Hamburger.
Vaughn, Strange and Douangdara were all assigned to Oceana Naval Air Station's Dam Neck Annex in Virginia Beach.
That's home to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the official name of the elite force known as SEAL Team 6.
The parents are seeking $200 million in damages, an apology "for allowing a Muslim cleric to desecrate the souls of their sons," and another memorial service with no Muslim cleric present.
They are represented by Larry Klayman, an activist attorney, founder of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch and onetime unsuccessful Republican Senate candidate in Florida.
The defendants in the case have not yet filed a response to the allegations.
Last year, Klayman filed an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to keep President Barack Obama off the ballot in Florida, alleging that he wasn't a "natural born citizen."