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Cpl. Damien Gutierrez

'American Sniper' Chris Kyle Might've Exaggerated His Military Honors

U.S. Navy is investigating "American Sniper" Chris Kyle after a report suggests that his book overstated how many Silver and Bronze Stars he earned.

By Melissa Prax | May 26, 2016

A new report claims Chris Kyle may have lied about how many medals he said he had in his memoir "American Sniper," and the U.S. Navy is investigating.

The Intercept said it obtained documents that appear to show Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars — even though he claimed he had two Silver and five Bronze stars.

The outlet also cites unnamed sources who allege Kyle was advised by one of his former commanders to fix the number of awards he put in a draft of his book. But that update apparently wasn't made before publishing.

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To be clear, one Silver and three Bronze Stars is still impressive. Kyle — a Navy SEAL — was known for his deadly sniper abilities during multiple deployments. After leaving the Navy, he was murdered in 2013.

When active military or veterans inflate the amount of awards they receive, it's called "stolen valor." And it's looked down on in the military.

A congressional act passed in 2013 made the practice a criminal offense when used to "obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit."

Parts of Kyle's memoir have been tested before.

In 2014, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura sued Kyle's estate for defamation and won. "American Sniper" claimed Kyle had punched Ventura in 2006.

This video includes clips from WCCOHarperCollins PublishersU.S. CongressNBCKXANTime and images from HarperCollins PublishersUnited States Army Institute of HeraldryU.S. Military and Cpl. Damien Gutierrez.

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