Are internal politics the likely cause of the DoD releasing their approval of Rep. Ryan Zinke’s memoirs?

Zinke submitted his book, “American Commander” to the DoD for review in order to prevent any sensitive material from being published. The process is supposed to take 30 days, however, he is well past the 3 month mark and counting. Experiencing some delays with the DoD is expected but is this excessive delay due to his current position as a SEAL congressman, his political endorsement, or because he has spoken out about controversial issues like the circumstances surrounding Benghazi or our role in the Middle East?

Military authors (especially SOF) and the publishing of their personal accounts and experiences have been widely debated over the past several years. However, as long as their confidentiality agreements are honored, combat veterans have the right to freedom of speech under the U.S. Constitution. Brandon Webb, CEO of Force 12 Media and author to several books has also experienced excessive delays with DoD and Naval Special Warfare leadership.

It’s unfortunate that the finest DoD America has known, including WARCOM the parent SEAL command, is allowing a few reviewing personnel to inject their own political and personal bias into a process that should be far above internal politics, and concerned only with preserving and protecting confidentiality.
 Brandon Webb, CEO of Force12 Media and former Navy SEAL
Rep. Zinke’s staff provided SOFREP with a press release with the goal of identifying the real issues with the DoD approval delay in hopes that this will benefit and improve the process for all military authors in the future.

Press Release from Rep. Ryan Zinke:

It is with great displeasure that I am forced to bring this matter to the attention of the press. While the review of any transcript that discusses military service is required from all former DOD active duty members, and it is required by statute that the review be completed and any objection be made by the DOD, within 30 working days; the review of my manuscript is approaching 90 days and counting.   I am gravely concerned that the delay in the review is due to political concerns over the content of my book, and not concerns of national security (classified material) only, as required. I am aware of nothing in the manuscript that even remotely can be argued to constitute classified material.

Per US Code, co-author Scott McEwen and I submitted the manuscript for my book American Commander to the Department of Defense (“DOD review”) for review in May of 2016.   The DOD has acknowledged receipt of the transcript, and that a review of the same is currently ongoing. To date, the DOD has given no indication that they have completed the review, whether they object to any portion(s) of the transcript, or the date on which the review will be completed.

My concerns over the failure of the DOD to complete its review are three-fold:

  1. I have been outspoken publicly, in Congress, and in the manuscript of the current administration, and its former Secretary of State now running for president, in the handling of various matters of international and national importance, including Benghazi and various matters in the Middle East;
  2. I am concerned that the book is being delayed in review and approval because this administration and its endorsed candidate will be displayed in a light differently than they would like by a former military commander and current member of Congress;
  3. Ultimately, while any politically motivated delay is clearly wrong, if proven to be the case, this behavior is in violation of the statute under which it was created, and the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. I am equally concerned that if allowed to take place with others in the future, it may also have a “chilling effect” under the 1st.

While as a former SEAL Team Commander I am duty-bound to submit any material that relates to my military service for review from the DoD; I also consider myself duty-bound as an acting United States Congressman, to reveal to the public, matters which I believe are inconsistent with the laws, policies and/or procedures of the United States. I am also concerned with the long term effect that the government’s failure to follow its own policies and procedures will have on others in the future.