U.S. News / Virginia

Cable news pundit charged with fraud; ties to CIA disputed

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Maryland man who offered national-security commentary on Fox News has been charged with fraud for falsely claiming a CIA career.

Authorities say they arrested 62-year-old Wayne Simmons of Annapolis on Thursday and charged him with fraud against the U.S. and making false statements to the government.

An indictment states Simmons lied about having a 27-year career with the CIA as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations” officer. The indictment alleges that Simmons made the claim as he sought security clearances and in seeking work as a defense contractor.

As recently as April, Simmons was identified on air on Fox radio as a “Fox News contributor.” In a 2009 Fox News clip, he calls House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “a pathological liar” in a segment about CIA interrogation techniques.

A Fox News spokeswoman, Carly Shanahan, said Simmons was never more than a guest on the network and that the reference to him on air as “Fox News contributor” was an error. “He was never a paid commentator,” she said.

At an initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Simmons was ordered held pending a detention hearing Friday. No lawyer has yet entered an appearance on his behalf.

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