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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Fox News Face Concocted CIA Past, Feds Say

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) - A recurring Fox News commentator faces a federal court hearing Friday on charges that he concocted a phony CIA past, purporting to have worked as an "outside paramilitary special operations officer."

Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Md., was arrested a day earlier after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of major fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to the government.

Simmons appeared without a lawyer before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Anderson after his arrest Thursday, and is scheduled for a detention hearing this afternoon.

Clocking in at just nine pages, the indictment says Simmons schemed to get government clearances and work as a defense contractor by purporting to have worked for the CIA for 27 years.

Prosecutors say those credentials led a government contractor to hire Simmons as the team leader of its human terrain system and caused "the United States to train him at a U.S. Army facility to be deployed overseas alongside and in support of U.S. military personnel."

Simmons never completed training, however, and was never deployed, according to the indictment.

The Washington Post reported that BAE Systems seems to have won the contract that the indictment describes. BAE confirmed Simmons' employment during the relevant time period but otherwise declined to comment, the Post said.

Crediting his CIA past and his team-leader post from 2008 to 2009, a second defense contractor hired Simmons in 2010 "as a senior intelligence advisor" to U.S. military personnel, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say the job would have required the United States to deploy Simmons overseas.

According to his website , Simmons was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan.

Prosecutors say Simmons lied about holding a top-secret security clearance with the CIA from 1973 to 2000, and that he tried to pass off previous criminal convictions and arrests - including a felony conviction for possession of a firearm - as the result of supposed CIA work.

Simmons "used these false and fraudulent statements and representations to cause the United States to grant him an interim secret security clearance, which was necessary for the Team Leader position," the 9-page indictment says.

Creative embellishment of this kind also helped Simmons lure someone into a $125,000 bogus real estate deal, according to the indictment.

Simmons' website says has appeared as a regular commentator on Fox News since 2002, presenting himself as source of authority on terrorism, intelligence operations and national security. Fox News says Simmons was an occasional commentator, and that it did not pay him for his appearances.

As a member of the Citizen's Commission on Benghazi, Simmons also played a role in the creation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi to investigate the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy drew criticism after admitting recently that the Republican-led committee had an ulterior motive: destroying Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.

Simmons claims on his website that he was among the first "outside intelligence officers to visit GITMO," the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba. He also says he wrote a spy-thriller novel called "The Natanz Directive," and that he sold the movie rights to Patriot Pictures LLC for production in 2016.

If convicted, Simmons could face up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 10 years for major fraud and five years for false statements.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said prosecutors would not comment beyond their press release.

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