Zinke went through his records and selected a few more positive evaluations and citations for release, skipping over the period of time he was punished by the Navy for a series of charges about the misuse of funds.
Ironically, I think the positive reports Zinke furnished the media actually make the case that there is something quite negative in his earlier record. At least three times between 1998 and 2004, his superior officer recommended that Zinke be promoted to Captain and considered for higher command. And yet he never was. In the story, Zinke modestly told Charles Johnson “To suggest that my career was anything but brilliant is dishonest.”
Oddly that echoes the statement of Dick Klass, who originally pointed out some of the issues in Zinke’s career, when he said “we heard some things about this founder,” Klass continued, referring to Zinke. “If a guy has had two combat tours and retired as a lieutenant commander, he did not have a brilliant career.”
Zinke told Mike Dennison that the travel issue was never something serious, yet when he was confronted about the same story by reporter Michael Hastings in 2012, he didn’t deny that he left Navy SEAL Team 6 as a result of travel dispute:
“There were ethics issues around his travel,” a former Navy SEAL and senior Defense Department official told BuzzFeed. “He was using government travel to visit his home in Montana. He got caught. That’s why he left the SEALs.”
Zinke did not contest the allegation, but suggested that the travel dispute is hardly major a blot on his service record.
I’m as shocked as you are that Mr. Zinke is once again changing his mind.
The bottom line seems clear: Ryan Zinke had an excellent second half of his career, but something caused him to leave SEAL Team Six–and something prevented him from receiving the career advancement his later fitness records and years of service would seem to suggest. That he won’t release his full record makes it apparent that there’s something to hide, something that might just contradict what Zinke has been saying about his record for all these years.