A lot of people lie on their resumes, but few people are able to turn those lies into more than a decade of TV appearances and government work. That’s the story of Wayne Simmons, now-former CIA analyst for Fox News, who was indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges of lying about everything he said about his past with the CIA. All right, then. So it goes.
Wayne Simmons has been appearing on Fox News for over a decade under the title of “former CIA operative” or “terrorism analyst,” depending on where you saw him, and he’s been a talking head on several different shows. He apparently got the job by making up the story that he was an “outside paramilitary special operations officer” for the CIA from 1973 through 2000. He used a lot of his time on the show to spout extreme opinions on torture methods (he’s for them) and other hot topics, as well as making all kinds of unfounded claims about potential threats. He presumably influenced quite a few people’s opinions during that time, and it just turns out his “expert” opinions were all hullaballoo.
For what it’s worth, Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti came out and told CNN that he was “never a contributor for Fox News,” at least as a paid consultant. Apparently he did all of his TV time as a non-paid guest. Free advice is not always the best advice.
The charges that Simmons is facing include major fraud against the U.S., wire fraud and making false statements to the government. If he’s convicted, he could face a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 10 years for major fraud, and 5 years for the false statements, for a total of 35 years behind bars. Who knew bullshitting could go that far? It turns out he also allegedly used a bunk real estate investment to defraud one particular person out of around $125,000. Un-real estate, am I right?
It’d be one thing if his Fox News segments were the extent of his lying, but that’s definitely not the case. Wayne Simmons also used his doctored-up past to gain government security clearances and landed an assignment serving as a defense contractor, where he was responsible for advising senior military personnel overseas. It’s one thing if you’re a liar working at a department store or a restaurant, but that’s a lot of wheeling and dealing for a guy who had zero legit qualifications.
It’s unclear what will happen to Simmons, but we bet he won’t have a job at Fox News anymore. Not that it was a real job anyway.