The Zinke Archives: Stolen Valor


The author of this post, and future posts exposing the dishonorableness of Ryan Zinke as a public servant, is being written by a lifelong conservative, elected Republican precinct man, and State Committeeman to the Montana Republican Party. I have worked on behalf of Republican campaigns since the age of 17, will continue to operate Political Action Committees dedicated to electing solid conservatives to office, a member of the NRA, the Montana Shooting Sports Association, and the John Birch Society. I am also the publisher of the largest conservative news site in Montana.

That said, I have no reason – other than ideological ones – for opposing the candidacy of Ryan Zinke for Montana’s second congressional district and supporting Dr. Al Olszewski. As a researcher, whose research has been quoted in everything from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune to the UK Daily Mail, I have spent time thoroughly researching both candidates for this office (I will refrain from mentioning the third candidate, who serves as a spoiler on behalf of Zinke; I would encourage people to give her as little attention as possible).

What I have discovered in my independent research has been shocking. Through a series of FOIA requests, deep-diving the Internet, searching the WayBack Machine of deleted Internet archives, and perusing the material on the Dark Web, what I have found about Zinke has been jaw-droppingly atrocious, and Montanans absolutely must know who they are casting their votes for. As Zinke already enjoys the endorsement of the upper echelons of the political dynasties, I doubt those good men are aware of this information and hope that they pull their endorsement for the sake of good of Montanans everywhere. Meanwhile, information is power and the information we have obtained from good old-fashioned research will be slow-dripped until the primary, well-sourced, and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt with documentation.


This is the hardest information for us to reveal. Certainly, as someone who has no military experience except my first part-time employee at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri (which doesn’t count), I don’t like accusing a military member of stolen valor. However, I am a journalist, and it is my bound duty to tell the truth for the good of this nation. My father, a Chief of Trainee Personnel for the Army, and grandfather, a WWII P.O.W. (twice) certainly taught me respect for the men and women in uniform. But part of that respect is to neither embellish nor exaggerate one’s service record, especially for personal or political aggrandizement. Bob Dole, Dan Crenshaw, and John McCain are all examples of military heroes who have earned our utmost respect. Even with the dubious purple hearts of John Kerry, few were willing to demonstrate the facts surrounding those awards. But if you meet Ryan Zinke, the term “SEAL” will come out of his mouth within mere minutes. It seems, to date, to be his one and only political talking point in the 2021 campaign. In fact, in the past, he has placed the seal of the U.S. Navy Seals on his campaign bus, a violation of the military code of conduct per  DOD Directive 1344.10.

The SEALs stand for the U.S. Navy Sea, Air, and Land group, a central core of the U.S. Navy’s primary special operations force. It was founded in 1962, with roots going back to 1942. The SEALs were officially commissioned and announced by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Montana is certainly a good place for veterans to run for office, coming in third behind Alaska and Virginia, and with 7,808 veterans per 100,000 residents. Zinke knows this, and plays it like a fiddle. But more than once has Zinke been called out for bad behavior while serving the U.S. Navy.

Screengrab, New York Times

The New York Times pointed out on January 1, 2017 and Trump’s pick for Interior Secretary – Zinke – had a dubious military record. Zinke was repeatedly reprimanded for stealing U.S. taxpayer dollars to travel home to Montana. He used the public coffers, as they were his own. Montanans should ask if they want our elected officials to be careful with our tax dollars or not.

This was actually no small matter for Zinke or the SEALs. Such abuse of taxpayer money was not to be tolerated. The New York Times reports, ” retired Vice Adm. Albert M. Calland III, who had never before discussed the matter publicly, said in an interview that it was an easy decision” to hit Mr. Zinke hard over the travel claims, which came at a time when he was supposed to help prevent such abuses.

And what was the punishment? It was a demotion, keeping Zinke from advancing from the ranks of the SEALs, keeping him as a mid-level, pencil-pushing bureaucrat rather than the more trusted, trigger-pulling frontline soldiers. The Admiral added, “I gave him a fitness report that…[that was intended] not allow him to get to captain” (see below).

Does Zinke talk about his “lapses in judgment” and “declining performance” when lauding his military career? And yet not nailed upon, considering it was more difficult to prove, were the odd “training missions” he would take to Washington State, which raised eyebrows of his peers, upon which he would take leave to visit his home in Whitefish. Nonetheless, it was enough to leave a paper trail that Zinke was lying to his superiors about the true purpose of his travels.

SEAL Team 6 was not particularly fond of Zinke, reports indicate, and repeatedly looked for ways to punish him. As the famous SEAL Team 6 killed bin Laden, they were pining to purport themselves as professionals, trustworthy, and disciplined. Simply put, Zinke did not portray that image. His two favorite past times seem to be (A) drinking and (B) talking about being a SEAL.

As time passed since being disciplined in 1999, the demotion meant to stop further advancement faded, and he eventually did obtain the office of commander – after being overlooked on at least two or three occasions and missing out on at least as many promotions. His personal character changed the views of his commanders, which once considered him material for admiral, but soon found themselves unable to advance him any further.


In his self-aggrandizing book entitled, America’s Commander, Zinke claims, “he led a force of over 3,500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq.”

That simply did not happen. To quote his fellow SEAL, Michale Repass, “That might be a stretch,” laughingly at the seeming absurdity of it. To quote the NYT, “General Repass said that while Mr. Zinke was his deputy commander for four months, he had named him acting commander for only about a week and a half, when the general traveled to the United States.”

None of that detail was disclosed in his book.

But the ire of his former SEALs tell us most of what we need to know about Zinke. Former boss, Retired Navy Seal Captain Larry W. Baily said in the 10-23-24 edition of the Great Falls Tribune that, “His special operations officer said he wanted to rip his (Zinke’s) trident off his uniform and throw him out of the Navy, he was so upset about what he had done. His commanding officer was more amenable and took the middle ground, not kicking him out of Navy, but getting him out of SEAL Team 6. He said he wrote a fitness report that was designed to specifically prevent him from getting a promotion.”

Meanwhile, in the 8-29-14 edition of the Bozeman Chronicle, Zinke was lambasted by former SEALs for capitalizing on the lie that he was a part of SEAL Team 6 that killed bin Laden. In a fundraising email, Zinke wrote the title, “Who killed Osama bin Laden?” With a plea for money for that hero, Zinke was clearly implying it was him. The email points out that Zinke was a part of SEAL Team 6 for a short time, but left out that he left the Navy in 2008 and had nothing to do with killing bin Laden. That was three years before bin Laden was killed.

Oh, and back to that SEAL insignia on Zinke’s bus? He had to be told by his former commanders to stop using it – or else. According to the 8/29/14 edition of the Bozeman Chronicle, reported, “In 2012, theDepartment of Defense told Zinke that his Super PAC could not use military service branch insignia on its website. The Navy could not be reached Friday for comment on Zinke’s use of the SEAL’s insignia.

One SEAL, whose name we cannot yet reveal but who did in fact have a role in killing bin Laden, told the MDG, “This son-of-bitch calls himself a SEAL? He’s a paper-jockey. More than that, he went on television and revealed secrets about SEAL Team 6 to help his campaign. If I see him, or another SEAL sees him, he’ll probably have his ass kicked for putting us all in danger by running his trap on tv about without any respect for op-sec (operational security).”

To this day, Zinke will often refer to himself as a SEAL. He is at best, a former SEAL, and one that others were eager to get rid of.

Montana Daily Gazette spent an equal time finding anything newsworthy or scandalous about military veteran Dr. Al Olzewski, but he appears to be as clean as a whistle, appreciated by his peers, and served with an honorable record with no negative remarks in his public file.


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  1. I believe everything you wrote in this article. However, before calling McCain a hero, maybe you could do some research on him. I did and what I found was not pretty.
    If this election is stolen, you can count on the flights to CA will far outweigh the flights he took to MT.

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  2. “As a researcher, whose research has been quoted in everything from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune to the UK Daily Mail…”

    Submitting rambling, semi-coherent letters to the editors of those publications does not qualify as “quoted”.


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