Chris Kyle's military record is under assault by the website The Intercept
, which charges the late author of "American Sniper" fudged the number of medals he won in combat. Problem is, says the Navy, many decorations given to Kyle and shadowy fighters like him serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were awarded in secret.
Just a week ago, Silver Stars awarded in secret to two Navy SEALs for valor in the rescue of Jessica Lynch during the dawn of the war in Iraq 13 years ago were similarly challenged
The Intercept, co-founded in 2014 by former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, said that according to internal Navy documents, the 38-year-old Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor over 10 years of military service and four deployments as a Marine.
However, said the Intercept, Kyle claimed in his best-selling book that he had won more medals.
"All told, I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze (Stars), all for valor," Kyle wrote, according to The Intercept.
Navy spokeswoman Lt. Jacqueline Pau told USA Today
on Wednesday that the Navy was attempting to reconcile its files on Kyle, one of more than 100 Navy SEALs who received Silver Stars secretly since Sept. 11, 2001.
USA Today said Silver Stars, the third highest commendation troops can earn, were given without notice for involvement in classified missions and the Navy has recently been releasing redacted information on them.
One citation, according to USA Today, credited Kyle with 91 enemy kills in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006. The Silver Star citation recognized Kyle for his "heroic actions, professionalism, and incredible sniper skills" on 32 missions.
A U.S. Department of Defense official familiar with Kyle's file told USA Today that a form in Kyle's personnel file, known as a DD214, credited him with two Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars. The source said errors on that form "are not uncommon."
A military expert is questioning the citations given for those medals, the military's third-highest decoration, reported USA Today.
The commendations to the SEALs were made in secret, along with more than 100 more such awards, said USA Today.
Jesse Ventura won a $1.8 million defamation lawsuit against Kyle's estate after for a statement in "American Sniper" that he punched out a man in a bar in 2006 later identified as the former Minnesota governor, reported the Washington Post
. Ventura charged the incident never happened, sued and won. Kyle's widow Taya Kyle is appealing.
Eddie Ray Routh was convicted last year for killing Kyle at a Texas shooting range on Feb. 2, 2013, according to NBC News
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