Wayne Simmons, a Fox News guest terrorism analyst, was arrested Thursday after being indicted by a grand jury on charges that he lied about serving as a CIA agent.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Virginia's Eastern District said the 62-year-old has long said he worked as an Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer for the CIA from 1973 to 2000, and allegedly used this false claim to gain government security clearances and an assignment as an intelligence adviser to senior military officers overseas, Reuters reports. The indictment also said Simmons defrauded a victim out of $125,000 through a sham real estate investment, and falsely claimed on national security forms that he held a top secret security clearance and arrests and convictions in his past were related to his work with the CIA.
U.S. officials told CNN that government agencies have received phone calls inquiring about Simmons's resume, but since government security agencies usually don't comment on people who have worked for them, their silence gave credence to his assertion that he once held a top secret job. Fox News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan said Simmons was never paid for any of his appearances on the network, which included a January interview where he claimed there were "at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States," CNN reports. If convicted of charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and making false statements to the government, he could face up to 35 years in prison.