Fox News ‘Terrorism Expert’ Wayne Simmons Arrested for Impersonating CIA Agent
A frequent Fox News guest commentator who claimed to be a terrorism expert who worked as a Central Intelligence Agency special operations officer has been arrested after it was discovered that he is a con man who was never employed by the CIA.
CNN Money reports Wayne Simmons, 62, was arrested on Thursday after a federal grand jury indicted him on “charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government.” Simmons is accused of falsely claiming he was employed as an “outside paramilitary special operations officer” for the CIA from 1973 to 2000. He was also indicted on charges of making false claims to obtain government security clearance and defense contract work. Simmons advised senior military personnel abroad.
The US Attorney’s Office announced that along with the CIA-related fraud, “the indictment also alleges that Simmons defrauded an individual victim out of approximately $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment.”
After Simmons was arrested, Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti told CNN that he “was never a contributor for Fox News” and that he only appeared on the network as an unpaid guest. Simmons had appeared on the conservative news channel many times, with Fox News’ website quoting him dozens of times and calling him a former CIA “operative,” “analyst” or “officer.” He was once introduced as “a former intelligence agent of the USA who risked his life for national security and other laudable purposes and took an oath to uphold the Constitution.”
Simmons is known in media watchdog circles for his questionable and sometimes demonstrably false statements on Fox News. He has claimed that there are “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States,” that Islamist terrorist groups “have the press and they have the ACLU in their pocket,” that Saddam Hussein had hidden weapons of mass destruction in Syria and that the whistleblower website Wikileaks is a “terrorist organization.” He also predicted in 2005 that the United States would suffer from a string of 9/11-type terrorist attacks if Democrats regained power.
As conservative furor mounted over the September 2012 attack on US diplomatic and intelligence facilities in Benghazi, Libya—in which four Americans were killed, Simmons frequently appeared on Fox News as an ‘expert’ calling on Congress to convene a Benghazi Select Committee.
If convicted on charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government, Simmons could face up to 35 years behind bars.
According to a Qunnipiac University poll, Fox News is America’s most trusted cable news source. But numerous polls have also found that Fox viewers are the most uninformed and misinformed of any cable news audience on various issues.
A recent study by the non-partisan media watchdog PolitiFact revealed that only 22 percent of statements made by Fox News were “true” or “mostly true,” 18 percent were “half true” and fully 60 percent were either “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire” lies. Some examples include Fox promoting a false story claiming a transgender student at a Colorado high school had been harassing female students in the girls’ restroom, and numerous lies about Obamacare.
In February, the city of Paris, France announced it was suing Fox News for disseminating false stories about Muslim-controlled “no-go zones” in the French capital. British Prime Minister David Cameron—a Conservative—said he “choked on his porridge” upon viewing a fallacious Fox report about Birmingham, England being “totally Muslim.”
Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox’s O’Reilly Factor, the most popular cable news program for 15 straight years, was also recently caught lying about his experiences and reporting during the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.