Wayne Simmons, who has appeared on Fox News as a commentator, made up a long career in the clandestine service and leveraged the bogus resume to obtain government work, according to federal prosecutors.
Simmons, who held forth on national security topics and terrorism for the network, has been arrested and charged with committing wire fraud and making false statements to the government. If convicted, he could face decades in prison.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia, Simmons’ claim that he was retired from the CIA helped to secure him government work, “including at one point successfully getting deployed overseas as an intelligence advisor to senior military personnel.”
Prosecutors say Simmons falsely claimed on national security forms that he had once held a top-secret security clearance. The indictment also alleges he defrauded an individual of $125,000 through what turned out to be a bogus real estate investment.
An NPR request for comment has not been answered but a spokeswoman for the network told CNN that Simmons “was never a contributor for Fox News” and that he was not paid for his appearances.
Simmons, however, appeared on the network repeatedly and was a harsh critic of Democrats. On the O’Reilly Factor in 2005, he warned that “if the Democrats come into power in the United States and re-employ their vision of defense for this country, we will have 911s unabated.”
He derided then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as a “pathological liar.” Shortly after President Obama’s election, Simmons classified him as a “boy king,” and in a radio interview with Brian Kilmeade earlier this year, he predicted the Obama administration would be viewed as the worst administration this country will ever have known.
Simmons parlayed his supposed work for the CIA into not only Fox News appearances and government work but also a book contract. In 2012, he published The Natanz Directive, a spy novel co-authored by Mark Graham that ostensibly drew from Simmons’ CIA career.