By Nigel Boys
Wayne Simmons, a recurring guest and self professed “terrorism analyst” for Fox News since 2002, who claimed to have 23 years experience with the CIA, reportedly lied about his credentials.
CNN reports that Simmons made his initial appearance in court on Thursday after being arrested and indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he lied about his service and used false claims to obtain government security clearances.
Apart from the fact that he was never a CIA agent with 23 years of experience as an “outside paramilitary special operations officer,” as he claimed, Simmons allegedly lied to gain a post as a defense contractor advising military personnel overseas.
While frequently appearing on Fox News, his title was often shortened to a “former CIA operative,” who had allegedly worked for the secret government organization from 1973 to 2000.
Raw Story reports that after joining the U.S. Navy in 1973, Simmons claims on his website, that he was recruited by the CIA and: “spearheaded Deep Cover Intel Ops against some of the world’s most dangerous Drug Cartels and arms smugglers from Central and South America and the Middle East.”
Simmons also claimed that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recruited him to join the Pentagon Outreach Program for Military and Intelligence Analysts. He claims that this happened in 2004 after being a “terrorist analyst” for Fox News since 2002, a claim which spokeswoman Irena Briganti denies.
Briganti told CNN that Simmons “was never a contributor for Fox News” adding that he only appeared on the network as an unpaid guest.
CNN reports that while denying that waterboarding was a form of torture during interrogations, Simmons also said that President Obama was a “novice who lacked a spine.” He also claimed in January this year that there were “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States.”
Suspicions arose about Simmons’ resume, with several government agencies receiving calls about claims he made on his website about his previous employment, officials told the news outlet. However, this served only to fuel Simmons claims that he had a top-secret background, since government agencies do not advertise about people who work for them.
We are “working closely with the Justice Department on this matter and we refer you to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia for comment on the charges,” the CIA said in a statement.
Apart from the CIA related fraudulent claims, “”the indictment also alleges that Simmons defrauded an individual victim out of approximately $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Thursday.
If convicted, Simmons faces a maximum penalty of up to 35 years in prison. Twenty years on the wire fraud counts, 10 years for major fraud against the U.S. and 5 years for making false statements.