Former Fox News analyst and self-described expert on terrorism Wayne Simmons pled guilty to charges of fraud for claiming he was a CIA special officer for nearly 30 years. According to federal prosecutors, he could face up to 40 years in prison.
Rolling Stone reported assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, Paul Nathanson, said that Simmons “never had any association whatsoever with the CIA.” Instead, he ran a limousine service, a gambling operation and an AIDS-testing clinic and various other vocations during the 27 years he claimed he was with the CIA.
Simmons also accumulated several criminal convictions which include DUIs, weapons possession and assault, and an arrest for attacking a cabdriver in 2007, all the while slotting himself as a “pentagon analyst” on Fox News.
Conservative Benghazi expert who appeared on Fox News pleads guilty to fraud: https://t.co/F3dxh2Ms7b pic.twitter.com/QBTDkKlW7a
— Media Matters (@mmfa) April 30, 2016
From Rolling Stone:
All the while, Simmons continued to get himself guest slots on Fox. The Pentagon’s military-analysts program had helped boost his profile, along with that of others who made extreme proclamations on air: Last year, retired Adm. James Lyons said the Muslim Brotherhood had “carte-blanche entry into the White House,” and retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney supported Donald Trump’s freeze on Muslim immigrants. All three men helped push right-wing theories about Benghazi into the mainstream. “If you have two generals and a former CIA officer saying these things, they give legitimacy and heft to what would have been a partisan attack,” says Angelo Carusone of Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog. “It has an effect on the way voters behave.”
In 2014, Simmons joined several conservative activists demanding House Speaker John Boehner to form a Benghazi committee to investigate the incident. According to Media Matters, he urged Boehner to “create a House Select Investigative Committee on Benghazi — fully resourced with staff and subpoena powers — to conduct a thorough, coordinated investigation.”
Watch an appearance Simmons made with Fox’s Neil Cavuto back in 2011:
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