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UPDATE 1-Fox News analyst facing CIA fraud charges to stay in jail
October 20, 2015 / 9:29 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fox News analyst facing CIA fraud charges to stay in jail

(Adds details from hearing)

By Tom Ramstack

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct 20 (Reuters) - A Fox News guest terrorism analyst was ordered kept in jail by a federal judge on Tuesday as he faces U.S. charges that he falsely claimed to have been a CIA agent for decades.

The suspect, Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, was denied release by U.S. Magistrate Ivan Davis. He cited Simmons’ 11 arrests for driving under the influence, an arrest for a 2007 assault and firearms convictions as reasons to keep him behind bars.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Nathanson said Simmons’ financial and alcohol problems along with his criminal history indicated he was a danger to the community.

“We believe Mr. Simmons is a desperate man,” Nathanson said.

Simmons’ attorney, public defender Whitney Minter, asked that he be released and allowed to live at home under the supervision of his daughter. Simmons sat next to Minter, wearing a prison jumpsuit.

A grand jury indicted him last week for portraying himself as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 2000.

The indictment said Simmons allegedly tried to use that claim to get government security clearances and work as a defense contractor. At one point he was deployed overseas as an intelligence adviser to senior military officers.

He faces charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud and making false statements to the government.

He had appeared on Fox News, the top-ranked U.S. cable television news network, as a guest analyst on terrorism since 2002. Simmons, co-author of the thriller “The Natanz Directive,” has a wide presence among conservative groups, a profile on said.

One of them is Accuracy in Media, a nonprofit news media watchdog group. “We were all surprised and stunned by this,” Roger Aronoff, a senior editor with the group, said as he left the courthouse.

Fox News, a unit of 21st Century Fox, has said Simmons had been a guest on the network and had not been paid.

The indictment said that Simmons falsely claimed on national security forms that his arrests and convictions were related to his CIA work and that he had held a top secret security clearance.

The indictment also alleges that Simmons defrauded a victim out of about $125,000 through a bogus real estate investment.

The profile said he worked in anti-narcotics operations and in 2004 was part of a Pentagon program for military and intelligence analysts. (Editing by Ian Simpson and Eric Walsh)

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