Like many of you I’ve been wondering why GOP congressional candidate Ryan Zinke would release only some of his military service record information and not other parts.
Zinke chose to give some of his reconds to Lee Newspapers, who he may have presumed would have no idea how to read them and probably think all the redacted stuff is “super secret squirrel” stuff and so ask no further questions. It is not. It also leaves one to wonder whether Zinke’s actual military records jive with the story he’s put out in the media or whether they do not.
If someone from Lee had known how to read these documents, and thought to compare Zinke’s released records to other such documents from other military personnel, they might have noted a few interesting things. Thankfully, a Cowgirl tipster, a former intelligence analyst with the Army who worked with the type of folks Zinke claims to be, has pointed some interesting items out for us here.
Of special interest among the Missoulian-posted Zinke docs is the form DD-214. (That’s what is known as Zinke’s military separation document.) And the first thing we must note on the on the DD-214 is that Zinke was a shore officer for four years:
Ask anyone in the Navy and they will tell you shore duty is where they send the idiots to keep them away from the people who actually do what needs to be done. Not to mention tours in Kosovo (long after the real action ended in the Balkans) and CJSOTF-AP [Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula (CJSOTF-AP) is a "white," or unclassified, special operations task force that is always organized around the headquarters of 5th Special Forces Group or 10th Special Forces Group], who did nothing. Also, every officer gets a bronze star as part and parcel of their deployment so they can get ahead. “Highly decorated” is ridiculous. Though surviving BUDS [Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training] does get him some points in my book.
Back to the form which Zinke has released, the DD-214: First, there is apparently nothing in it, other than has social security number, that he needed to redact. I’m told that this is the document that goes to a service member’s future employers, so it does not contain state secrets.
He redacted some ending statement in the remarks section, which apparently is noteworthy because that is probably where the military would have included some comment or code about his end of service.
But it seems that what reporters have really failed to notice and ask about is why Zinke has redacted information from his “separation authority” section. This section would have included a code which would tell us why he is leaving the military. You don’t hide that code unless you are trying to hide the reason why you got out.
For example, in the Army the code “AR 635-200, Chapter 4,” means simply “completion of service, no big deal.” Zinke, my source explains:
had an honorable discharge, which is good, but that does not eliminate him having some code to a Navy regulation about some malfeasance causing him to leave. He retired after 22 years, but by then I think you needed at least 25 years to have the full retirement benies. Also he retired after 22 years as an O-5. Not unheard of, but with his background and evals he should have been an O-6 (captain) unless someone in the Navy chain knew what a douchebag he was. Or if he refused it, which is also possible and would gather him some points in my book again. I doubt it though, if he is running for Congress he would have played the officer games.
Regardless, it certainly appears that by hiding his “separation authority code,” it means that there is some other chapter than simple “completion of service” that Zinke went out of the military under–something which Zinke does not want us to see.
Lee Newspapers should have asked about it. Perhaps they will now. It’s also interesting (and somewhat telling) that Zinke didn’t think some military-savvy reader would be able to figure out what’s been hidden from the public in these partial records.
So now, we shall see if Lee Newspapers will simply ask Zinke what his separation authority code was and why he redacted it. They also need to ask whether Zinke has actually set foot in Iraq, as John Walsh has done, or not. After all, they were certainly eager to write about Walsh’s omission of quotation marks from a college paper.