Robert McDonald, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, admitted that he falsely claimed to be a member of the Special Operations Forces while participating in a CBS News report on homeless military veterans.
During the news report, which can be seen above, McDonald encountered a homeless man who told the Secretary he had served in Special Forces.
“Special forces? What years? I was in Special Forces!” McDonald replied to the veteran.
Huffington Post did some digging and they discovered that the claim was a lie:
In fact, McDonald never served in special forces. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975, completed Army Ranger training and took courses in jungle, arctic and desert warfare.
He qualified as a senior parachutist and airborne jumpmaster, and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until he retired from military service in 1980.
While he earned a Ranger tab designating him as a graduate of Ranger School, he never served in a Ranger battalion or any other special operations unit.
When confronted with the facts, McDonald confessed. His office called the claim “inaccurate” in their official statement:
While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his Veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military. He responded that he had served in special forces.
I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.
McDonald was appointed VA secretary after the department fell under enormous scrutiny last summer. His predecessor, Gen. Robert Shinseki, resigned under pressure.
There's no telling how many times McDonald has made the false claim, but surely there are reporters and bloggers now scouring his record.