A frequent guest on Fox News claimed he worked 27 years for the CIA but in fact never worked for the agency, according to a federal indictment announced Thursday.
Wayne Shelby Simmons was arrested following his indictment by a federal grand jury for fraud, accused of lying about his employment at agency, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Eastern Virginia announced. Simmons was often a guest on Fox News and touted as a national security analyst. He is being charged with major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release said.
“He’s not affiliated with the network,” Fox News spokesperson Carly Shanahan told TPM following the announcement, either as a paid pundit or contributor.
Simmons was often described as a former CIA “operative” or “analyst” when he appeared on Fox News. He was also known to make outlandish-sounding claims, like that there are “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States,” as he said in January.
In addition to allegedly falsely claiming he worked for the CIA from 1973 to 2000, the indictment accuses Simmons of lying on security background checks about arrests he claimed were connected to his CIA employment and that he “defrauded an individual victim out of approximately $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment.”
The bulk of the indictment focuses on claims Simmons made about his CIA employment as an “Outside Paramilitary Special
Operations Officer” to various unnamed companies that had received government contracts or subcontracts. The indictment says Simmons repeated the claim on the government questionnaire to receive a national security clearance and in a 2009 letter to the Department of State in support of the questionnaire. An interim secret security clearance was granted to Simmons by the U.S. government, the indictment said.
At one point, while working for one of the government contractors on the basis of his CIA claim, Simmons was also trained on a U.S. military base in preparation for him to work with military personnel abroad, the indictment said. However Simmons never finished training and was ultimately not deployed, according to the indictment.
He was arrested Thursday in Annapolis, Maryland, according to court documents. He was scheduled to make his first appearance in front of an Alexandria, Virginia judge Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release said.
See the indictment below: