Former SEAL-Turned Super PAC Founder Concerned About Classified Information Leaks

Monday, 27 Aug 2012 11:00 AM

By John Bachman and Patrick Hobin

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A former SEAL Team 6 member is concerned about leaks of classified information from the White House and from fellow SEALS.

Ryan Zinke, a Republican state senator from Montana and former Navy SEAL, told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview that he is “always concerned about leaks of classified information, and this is a unique case because you have a commander in chief that released information for the purposes of making a movie and you have a SEAL that was on the mission releasing information for the purposes of a book."

“No Easy Day” — a book former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, who was part of the May 2011 mission that killed Osama bin Laden — is to be released Sept. 11.

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Zinke — who runs the political action committee Special Forces for America — said, “It starts with leadership at the commander-in-chief level, and it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays, because you have an administration that did it, you have a SEAL that did it and the problem is you have classified information, and if that release of information puts troops in harm’s way or future operations become more in jeopardy then there’s a problem."

“Part of it is social media,” he said. “Part of it is the technology that we currently live in, both in operations and on the battlefield, the social media. A lot of issues are wrapped up in this, but at the heart of it is accountability on releasing information that would put our troops at greater risk.”

He said he formed his PAC after hearing President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton “articulating that the death of bin Laden and the consequences was political.”

“The consequences of failure really was the operators on the ground and was about military families. And this administration has been involved in leaks of classified information.”

The PAC, Zinke said, ”isn’t Republican or Democrat. We’re looking out after the military, the military families, and making a compelling argument why we need a leadership change at the commander-in-chief level.”

He said his super PAC is unrelated to others formed recently, including the Special Operations OPSEC educational fund.

“We’re not connected,” he said. “We don’t coordinate. Of course the SEAL community is a pretty small community…Our organization, Special Operations for America, is a little different. On our advisory board are former governors, former senators.

"We’re a super PAC and we designed ourselves to be fully transparent. Every dollar that comes in is accountable. …The other thing that separates us, to a degree, is that we make comments on issues that are documented, that are supportable and we’re very, very careful on the message to make sure that we’re above the waterline.

“We’re not a ‘Swift Boat’ organization. We don’t make it personal. We make sure that what we represent is factual to the best of our ability and we’re shaping what I think is a compelling argument about this administration.”

While the military should be remain apolitical, he said, “It’s incumbent, and the duty of every veteran and every citizen, to be politically active and to speak out when you look at things that are happening that put our nation at risk in the national-security arena.”

When an administration that “uses bullying tactics or intimidation or tries to discredit the voice of a veteran,” Zinke said, “I think they do it at their own peril.”

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