SEAL Imposters Sought - NBC 7 San Diego

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SEAL Imposters Sought

aval Special Warfare Command in Coronado says the base gets around three inquiries per week



    Since the death of Osama Bin Laden, the county has heard a lot more about the Navy SEALS, one of the most elite special forces groups in the world.

    The group is know for being relatively unknown, but lately there seems to be an increase in the number of people who want to steal the credit. 

    Groups that investigate claims of false military service are getting far more since Bin Laden's death.  Don Shipley, a former SEAL, and volunteer investigator of false military claims, says he is getting 40 to 50 inquiries per day.

    A spokeswoman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado says the base gets around three of those inquiries per week.

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    In Pennsylvania this week, Pastor Jim Moats admitted he lied to his congregation for the past five years, and to a local newspaper, claiming he had been a Navy SEAL.  He came clean after being confronted by Shipley.

    "It's an embarrassment," says Gunnar Hanson, a former SEAL from 1994 to 2005 and current pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Valley Center.  He says these impostors can damage the reputation of the actual SEALS and that of the church.

    "As a person, as a man of integrity, it really puts a stain on those who really do love God and are really making a serious impact on people's lives," says Hanson.

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    Currently it is not against the law to untruly claim to be a member of the armed services.  Last summer, a federal appeals court ruled that would violate a person's free-speech.

    Gunnar Hanson does say the lies are easy to figure out.

    "In a split second, I can identify if somebody is legitimate or not legitimate, which a civilian won't know." 

    Hanson did not want to share that method.  But he also said when it comes to finding real SEALS, one way you can tell, is that real SEALS don't tell.

    "We are very silent warriors about what we do, and we take pride in keeping within the team."