Montana Politics Ryan Zinke US Politics

Congressman Zinke Celebrates Memorial Day By Exploiting Navy SEAL Team 6 Again

In yet another hour spent with Breitbart News, Congressman Zinke once again condemned those who leaked the fact that it was Navy SEAL Team Six who killed Osama bin Laden back in 2011. He told the “news” agency’s Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow:

Within hours after SEAL Team Six conducted the bin Laden Raid, it was reported that SEAL Team Six conducted the hit, and in my experience of SEAL Team Six, you didn’t utter the words that we even existed. Yet now, you have the administration confirming that SEAL Team Six conducted the battle.

As readers of this site know, it was Zinke, who,within 12 hours of the announcement of the raid, was not only naming SEAL Team Six, but providing details about the raid to the press:

State Sen. Ryan Zinke, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, said Monday that his former unit, SEAL Team 6, led the assault that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan – but that it had plenty of support from other branches of the military and intelligence community…. The team attacking bin Laden’s compound probably had about 40 people, he said, going in by helicopter. Security would have to be maintained on the outside of the building as mission members entered and tried to find the target inside, he said: “You’re on the clock.”

I realize I’ve covered this ground before, but perhaps when Zinke runs for the Senate some national media outlet will expose his hypocrisy. You see, it was then State Senator Ryan Zinke who spread the news that it was Navy SEAL Team Six who led the raid, days before the Obama Administration publicly confirmed that even the SEALS were involved. In the hours after the raid (without operational details, including the identity of SEAL Team Six) was made public, Zinke ran to local, state, and national media to cover himself in glory by repeating his past association with SEAL Team Six. While other veterans were telling newspapers they couldn’t speak to the press, Zinke was telling newspapers as far away as Virginia that SEAL Team Six carried out the raid, while being sure to mention he had once been part of the unit.

Here’s part of the timeline again:

Let’s not forget that back in 2012, Zinke even claimed that naming SEAL Team Six was a crime that should result in criminal prosecution.

So here we have a political candidate who brought national attention and fundraising to himself by simultaneously exploiting his connection to SEAL Team Six and by condemning the Obama Administration for releasing “secrets” that Zinke himself rushed to the press. And years later, on Memorial Day no less, he’s still at it—exploiting the memory of people he served with in a transparently cynical ploy to bring attention to himself one more time.

I realize that it’s going to be challenging for the Lee papers to make an interactive slideshow about this, but this is all easily verifiable with a few Google searches and a bit of effort. I know there are important stories like reprinting mug shots and DUI arrests to be done, but perhaps a little attention to the national interviews given by our members of Congress might just be of interest to someone?

On another minor note, doesn’t it seems strange how often reporters get wrong what Zinke did in the SEALS? In both this story and a recent piece by the Los Angeles Times, it was reported that Zinke was the commander at SEAL Team Six. You’d think a man as concerned with integrity as Zinke is would be sure to correct those misconceptions.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • I would sure be interested to know just what is under the blacked-out portions of his DD-214 myself. That document is supposed to be presented to any potential employer for proof of service and contains only name, rank at discharge, places and dates of service and date and place of discharge. It also contains honors received and if the service member has received any dishonorable disciplinary action (similar to criminal punishment in civilian courts).

    Our illustrious Congresscritter has several blacked out portions in the area where honors/disciplinary action is normally listed. Hmmmmm………wonder what’s under there? He claims it is national security. He is lying about that – nothing of national security is ever put on a DD-214 of course.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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