Arrested on fraud charges and falsely claiming to be a CIA operative, Wayne Shelby Simmons has been caught feeding disinformation to Fox News for over a decade. Advocating for the use of torture during interrogations and inciting war with the Middle East, Simmons erroneously asserted earlier this year that 19 paramilitary Islamic training camps were operating in the U.S.
According to FoxNews.com, Simmons has been listed as a “CIA operative” and a guest contributor since April 21, 2003. But on his website, Simmons claims to have been a terrorist analyst for Fox News since 2002. Simmons also falsely claimed he worked as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the CIA from 1973 to 2000 to obtain government security clearances and work as a defense contractor.
Instead of verifying whether Simmons had actually worked for the CIA, Fox News and the Agency allowed him to make fools out of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Andrew Napolitano, Neil Cavuto, and everyone at Fox & Friends for over the last twelve years. After building a false reputation as a CIA agent on Fox News, Simmons obtained an interim security clearance when an unnamed government contractor hired him in 2008. Simmons also falsely claimed on national security forms that his prior arrests and criminal convictions were directly related to his supposed intelligence work for the CIA, and that he had previously held a top secret security clearance from 1973 to 2000.
During an interview with Neil Cavuto earlier this year, Simmons falsely asserted that “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities” were currently operating in the U.S. to conduct terrorist activities. Simmons credited another Fox News guest contributor, Ryan Mauro, as the source of his erroneous information. As the national security analyst at the Clarion Project, Mauro’s brand of Islamophobia falls right in line with Simmons’.
In a later interview with Cavuto, Simmons called for law enforcement to violate civil liberties and start racially profiling at American mosques. Simmons told Cavuto, “The mosques are the breeding ground. We know they are breeding grounds for terrorism, for fundraising.”
Although no one has been able to verify Mauro’s claims, an audience member at a Trump campaign rally last month accused the president of being a Muslim and expressed fear of these nonexistent training facilities in the U.S.
“We have a problem in this country — it’s called Muslims,” the man said to Trump. “We know our current president is one.”
“We have training camps growing where they want to kill us,” he continued. “That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?”
Instead of correcting the confused man and informing him that President Obama is responsible for killing more Muslims than almost any other person in this country, Trump simply evaded the man’s question.
After former CIA case officer John Kiriakou exposed the government’s torture program in 2007, Simmons justified the use of torture on a radio show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano and Brian Kilmeade. After rationalizing the destruction of the 92 videotapes that recorded enhanced interrogations, Simmons refused to admit that waterboarding is torture.
During an interview with Fox & Friends, Simmons falsely accused then-Senator John Kerry of “publicly calling our soldiers/sailors/marines murderers and terrorists.” Although Fox News anchor Greg Kelly repeatedly attempted to correct Simmons and even read Kerry’s exact quote to Simmons, the phony CIA agent refused to take back his lie.
Ironically, Simmons contributed to a Fox News report in 2007 about a former FBI and CIA agent found guilty of fraud and stealing secrets. During the report, Simmons stated, “Somewhere along the line of course, Douglas, someone, whoever was responsible for the background check at the FBI really, really fell down.”
Simmons added, “This has exposed the raw nerve, if you will, of a flaw in the background check, and without a background check, without knowing who we’re hiring, and who we are employing to protect our nation, we are in big, big trouble.”
Previously convicted for a crime of violence and firearms offenses, Simmons was able to acquire a security clearance because of the incompetence behind Fox News and the federal government. Responsible for spreading disinformation and his Islamophobic agenda for over a dozen years, Simmons was finally arrested on Thursday and charged with committing major fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government. According to his indictment, Simmons also defrauded a victim out of roughly $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud counts, 10 years in prison on the major fraud counts, and 5 years in prison for making a false statement. Although Fox News is responsible for making a myriad of false statements to the American people over the years, they will continue with their regularly scheduled program while vainly attempting to distance themselves from Simmons.