This would be funny if the implications about the gullible media and government weren’t so troubling.
Wayne Simmons, 62, was a U.S. intelligence adviser in Afghanistan in 2010, and had appeared on Fox News as a “terrorism analyst”. To burnish his credentials, Simmons claimed to have been a CIA agent for decades. But neither the U.S. military nor Fox News ever bothered to conduct even a cursory background check or verify his resumé.
It turns out Simmons is neither a former CIA agent nor a terrorism expert. Instead, during the time he was supposed to be a CIA special operative, his jobs included being a nightclub doorman. He is also a convicted felon.
Reuters reports that on July 15, 2016, in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, Wayne Simmons was sentenced to 33 months in prison for fraudulently claiming to have been a CIA agent for decades. Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said, “Wayne Simmons is a fraud. Simmons has no military or intelligence background, or any skills relevant to the positions he attained through his fraud.”
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III also sentenced Simmons to serve three years of supervised release, to forfeit two firearms and $176,000 in criminal proceeds, and to pay restitution.
Simmons has appeared on Fox News, the top-ranked U.S. cable television news network, as an unpaid guest analyst on terrorism since 2002.
Last October, a grand jury indicted Simmons for portraying himself as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the CIA from 1973 to 2000. But instead of working for the CIA, Simmons’ jobs during that period included nightclub doorman, bookie, manager of a rent-by-the-hour hot tub business, mortgage broker and defensive back for the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints.
This April, Simmons pleaded guilty to charges of major fraud against the U.S. government, wire fraud and a firearms offense. He admitted that he had defrauded the government in 2008 when he got work as a team leader in an Army program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence adviser. Simmons also admitted to defrauding an unidentified woman out of $125,000 in a bogus real estate investment.
When he was arrested, Simmons illegally possessed two firearms, which he was barred from having because of prior felonies, including a state conviction and two federal firearms violations.