A recurring Fox News guest who claimed to be a long-time CIA agent was indicted and arrested Thursday for not, in fact, being a CIA agent.
Wayne Simmons claimed to have 23 years experience with the secretive federal agency as an “outside paramilitary special operations officer,” CNN reports. He was indicted for using that claim to gain security clearances and a post as a defense contractor advising military personnel overseas.
On his website, Simmons claims he joined the U.S. Navy in 1973, where he was recruited by the CIA,” and “spearheaded Deep Cover Intel Ops against some of the world’s most dangerous Drug Cartels and arms smugglers from Central and South America and the Middle East.”
Simmons also claims he has been a “terrorism analyst” for Fox News since 2002. In 2004, he claims former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recruited him to join the Pentagon Outreach Program for Military and Intelligence Analysts.
A Fox News spokeswoman told CNN that Simmons was an unpaid guest and never a host for the station, and declined further comment.
CNN pointed out that Simmons had a pattern of making “extreme and factually dubious” claims about terrorism, including a claim in January that there were “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States.”
He also denied waterboarding was torture and said that President Obama was a “novice who lacked a spine,” according to CNN.
Officials told the station that there had been suspicions about Simmons’ resume which were stirred when questions were raised with various government agencies about his statements.
As part of the indictment, Simmons is also accused of defrauding a victim out of $125,000 in a real estate-related scam.
If convicted, Simmons could face decades in prison for all counts, including 20 years for wire fraud, 10 years for major fraud against the U.S, and 5 years for false statements.