Recurring Fox News Guest Charged with Falsifying CIA Past
Wayne Simmons claimed that he worked for the CIA from 1973 to 2000
Wayne Simmons, a recurring guest on Fox News who claimed to have 27 years of experience with the CIA, was arrested Thursday on charges of falsifying his credentials with the CIA, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
Simmons, 62, frequently described as a “former CIA “operative” on the network, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of lying that he worked as an “outside paramilitary special operations officer” for the CIA from 1973 to 2000.
He was also indicted with using that story to obtain government security clearances and an assignment as a defense contractor. If convicted, Simmons could face up to 35 years in prison on charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government.
Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti told CNN that he “was never a contributor for Fox News,” and that he appeared on the network only as a non-paid guest.
U.S. officials told CNN that various government agencies have received calls about claims Simmons made on his website. In this case, the government’s typical policy of refusing to comment on an individual’s service may have worked against it by inadvertently bolstering Simmons’s claims that he had done clandestine work for the country.
Simmons faces additional charges of defrauding a victim of $125,000 in a bogus real estate investment. He could spend as long as 35 years in prison for his combined charges.
The Department of Justice release did not indicate whether Simmons has retained an attorney or entered a plea.
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