Wayne Simmons, frequent Fox News commentator and supposed 27-year CIA veteran of “outside paramilitary operations,” was arrested by the Department of Justice on October 15th, charged with misrepresenting himself, wire fraud, weapons violations, and essentially inventing his entire CIA background from whole cloth.

While the mainstream media has reported on Simmons’s arrest extensively, including Fox News throwing him under the bus, the press was all over his involvement with far-right personalities like Michelle Bachman and Allen West. However, they completely missed Simmons’s connections to a slew of shady characters, including retired generals—one of whom is General McInerney, who has been profiled here on SOFREP before.

Who is Wayne Simmons?

“I had the opportunity to meet Wayne Simmons at a conference called ‘The Intelligence Summit’ in Washington, D.C.,” author JT Patten told SOFREP, having attended the conference in February of 2006. “The summit included a number of the who’s who in the intelligence and special operations communities who were part of the advisory council and key speakers. It was advised by Paul Valley, Gordon Cucullu, CDR Richard Marcinko, and Wayne Simmons, among others.”

The Intelligence Summit provided a high-end networking event for various members of the intelligence community. Run by John Loftus, the Intelligence Summit website (recently taken down, probably due to the attention drawn to it by SOFREP) featured names as big as former CIA director James Woolsey. The website also came to feature loads of anti-Catholic, anti-Islam Illuminati conspiracy material. Some have speculated that this material was actually placed on the Intel Summit webpage to beta-test a “payload” or a baited message as a part of an influence operation.

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(An example of the whack job tin foiler propaganda which appeared on the Intel Summit website)

“Two former CIA officers, who I knew prior to the event, introduced me to Wayne at a small cocktail party that had maybe 50 people jammed into two adjoining hotel rooms. It was a great networking opportunity for mid-level folks to engage with senior leaders. Most everyone was from the special operations community, government intel, the media, and some beltway social elites. Clearly, in hindsight, those were dangerous liaisons,” Patten said.

After being introduced to Simmons, Patten recalled, “I can’t say that I received much attention in those minutes, and most of the time he was looking around trying to make eye contact and say hello to people with a bit more clout. I did finally ask him how he was ‘released’ to share his involvement with the Agency if he was still doing work for them, which got his attention, and he promptly excused himself to chat with a retired U.S. Air Force officer and senior military analyst for one of the news stations, leaving me.”

“I’ve been feeling pretty stupid the past couple of weeks just thinking that I opened myself up to an introduction vetted by social ties and power players. I think a lot of people are feeling the same right now, and should be. It’s a great lesson in vetting and OPSEC. It’s also a community failure by D.C. elites that has persisted for years,” Patten told SOFREP.

Wayne billed himself as a black ops spymaster, as you can see from the biography on his website:

Wayne joined the U.S. Navy in 1973 where he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to became part of an Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Group. He 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 has been a Terrorism Analyst for the Fox News Channel since 2002. In 2004, under the direction of Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, he became a part of the Pentagon Outreach Program for Military and Intelligence Analysts. Simmons was one of the first outside Intelligence officers to visit GITMO (Guantanamo Bay , Cuba ) in July, 2005 and again in July, 2006 and March, 2008. In July, 2006 Simmons was given the distinguished honor to serve as a consultant to the Bush White House to assist in the construction of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which was signed into law by President Bush in October 2006. In 2008 Simmons came out of retirement and trained as Team Leader of the HTT, Human Terrain Team’s, that were scheduled to deploy in Afghanistan. In 2010 Simmons served as the S-2, for the Counter Insurgency Advisory and Assistance Team, CAAT, at ISAF HQ, Kabul, Afghanistan. In 2014 Wayne had the honor of becoming a member of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi a position he still holds. He has written a novel, The NATANZ DIRECTIVE to which the movie rights were purchased by PATRIOT PICTURES LLC, for production in 2016. Wayne is the sole inventor and PATENT holder of the Fraud Prevention Software, HADRiAN. He is currently the CEO of Securus LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company.

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The problems with Simmons’s biography come up immediately. For starters, there is no such thing as “outside paramilitary operations” in the CIA. And what are “deep-cover intel ops?” It reads like something written by someone who watched a lot of spy movies. The picture above was posted by Wayne on his Facebook page, but since his arrest, the Department of the Navy has said that no one by the name of Wayne Shelby Simmons has served in the Navy.  One source reported to SOFREP that Simmons only lasted a matter of months in the Navy and was probably drummed out of the service during basic training.

Several years ago, I began hearing stories about Wayne through a mutual friend. They were tales of intrigue and covert operations. Off-the-books black ops against drug cartels, assassinating Iranians on American soil, and all sorts of black helicopter nonsense. Suffice to say I was motivated to begin asking questions about Wayne. No one in the CIA I was able to communicate with had any idea who Simmons was or would vouch for him in any way. He was a Walter Mitty, a case of mega stolen valor. But that is just the beginning of this bizarre story, one that comes straight out of the twilight zone.

To begin to understand Wayne and how he was able to perpetrate fraud on this level, we have to go back in time to the Pentagon’s Military Analyst Program. While innocuous sounding, the program was actually a Pentagon propaganda effort to sell the 2003 invasion of Iraq to the American public. Hawkish former generals, spies, and think-tank types were brought into the program, fed talking points by the Department of Defense, and then they became talking heads on various news channels—reciting the Pentagon’s party line as if it was an independent conclusion they had arrived at.

To understand the trail of lies, one should first look at how Wayne Simmons was brought into the Military Analyst Program in the first place. This program was what gave Wayne the credibility to make his television appearances and launch his career as a faux-CIA agent. Supposedly, Wayne is said to have claimed that the CIA had partially lifted his cover so that he could serve in the program. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld himself apparently bought into his lies. Who vetted Wayne for the program? Who granted Wayne an interim security clearance? What we do know is, also serving in the Military Analyst Program were retired generals Tom McInerney and Paul Vallely.  The three soon befriended one another.

In Simmons, the retired Generals likely saw someone who could act as a public face and give their message some credibility when it came to terrorism and espionage issues.

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Did retired generals vouch for Wayne because they liked his hawkish neoconservative views or was it was former CIA officer Clare Lopez who tried to backstop Simmons’ credentials? Did they know he was a fraud? Did they care? What makes the already curious case of Wayne Simmons more interesting is that he seems to have been able to obtain employment with the DOD using his fake CIA credentials—with the Human Terrain System, for example.

Fox News commentary

However Wayne got into the Military Analyst Program (some say his sister has some kind of connection to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld), it created a launchpad for him to become a regular Fox News commentator. Cultivating a tough-guy persona on air, power tie and all, Wayne has made all kinds of outrageous statements such as:

“Since the coronation of the boy king 15 months ago, it is again not an accident that every third-world despot from Venezuela through Cuba to North Korea, virtually anyone in the Middle East that decides they want to take a shot at the United States and our allies, is doing just that. These guys now that are starting to come out of the woodwork are emboldened. They recognize, as do the third-world nations [and] the dictators, that there will be no repercussions from the Obama administration.”

On the “Bill O’Reilly Show,” he also claimed to have seen a narcoterrorist cut out a dude’s tongue. Some of his comments very much reflect those of his friend, retired General Thomas McInerney, as well. He claimed that the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was a state-sponsored act of terrorism. McInerney also claimed that terrorists had hijacked the Malaysian flight and flew to Pakistan, where the passengers were (and supposedly are) being held hostage.

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Like McInerney, Simmons also endorsed the massive and relentless use of American air power against ISIS, saying, “We could end this in a week. And that’s not an exaggeration. That’s not hyperbole. We could run a number of sorties, thousands of sorties, locate, identify, and designate, absolutely decimate ISIS, ISIL, I.S., whatever you want to call them. They would all be dead.” That didn’t work in Vietnam or Cambodia, but never mind that for now.  At the end of the day, Simmons backed Vallely and McInerney’s world view which calls for perpetual war in the Middle East.

Lie, deny, make counter-accusations

When former CIA Officer Kent Clizbe and others began accusing Wayne of being a fraud, he fired back to the Washington Times when he was questioned about it in a series of emails. The Washington Times published excerpts from those emails, including:

“These two guys showed up out of the blue making those claims. We did not know they were working together until I ran an intel op against one of them and made the link to the other. I have been vetted at the very highest level of multiple agencies including DOD and SECDEF’s office. There are many folks like me out there who cannot protect themselves because they did not keep op files to prove activity. I did. CIA knows I’m here.”

What is interesting about this is that Wayne is actually confessing to a felony if his words are true. He is claiming that he kept classified operational files from his supposed time in the CIA. If true, one would imagine that his lawyer will be presenting these files in his court case. That, or the Department of Justice discovered said classified files when they arrested him and searched his home, and will be using them in the course of his prosecution. More than likely, though, no such files exist.

In an interview, Kent Clizbe told SOFREP that the only piece of documentation that Simmons was able to produce to prove his CIA service was a flight manifest showing himself to be on a military flight to Guantanamo Bay, probably one of the Pentagon sponsored trips he took as a part of the Military Analyst Program.  In the twisted logic of Wayne Simmons, this proves that he was in the CIA because someone who was not in the CIA would never have been manifested on the flight.

Wayne also tried to deflect the criticism by writing an email to the Washington Times saying, “Some of my colleagues are convinced that it is related to my outspoken membership on the Citizens Commission on Benghazi. I’m not certain. It is angering and pathetic.” The Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi is the odd sewing circle of conspiracy theorists and John Birch society types, which includes, you guessed it, Paul Vallely, Thomas McInerney, and other members of the same clique, such as former CIA officer Clare Lopez, Allen West, and strangely enough, the once great journalist Steve Emerson, who penned “Secret Warriors” about Reagan-era covert operations.

These are likely to be the go-to defensive arguments for the true believers:

  • Wayne is being persecuted by the Obama administration because he is a truth-telling super-patriot.
  • His ops are blacker than everyone else’s ops, so they can’t proven.

Very convenient for him, but unlikely to stand up under the scrutiny of the court.

Even SOFREP gets dragged into this mess

In the interest of full disclosure, Wayne Simmons was the mentor to former SOFREP writer Kerry Patton.  Kerry no longer works with us and has pursued a career in the film industry.  Kent Clizbe claims that when he began questioning Simmons’ service in the CIA that Kerry wrote a disguised rebuttal to Clizbe’s questions and concerns in the form of a SOFREP article.  I accept responsibility for this mistake as editor in chief.  It just goes to show how careful you have to be when you wade into a nest of vipers intent on manipulating everyone around them.

Kerry wrote a response to Simmons’ arrest on his Facebook page, without mentioning him by name:

A very good friend of mine was arrested recently. The investigation continues while he awaits a hearing this Tuesday. Many privately contacted me about this while others stated their opinions. I will not say my friend is guilty nor will I say he is innocent. I will say that the justice department will do their job and whatever the outcome, so be it. With that said, I have never been gainfully employed by this individual let alone work in any organization said individual may or may not have worked in.

From Kerry Patton to Paul Vallely to Neil Cavuto on Fox News, absolutely no one seems to be sticking their neck out or supporting Simmons after his arrest by the Department of Justice.

The military industrial complex

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(Vallely, Simmons, and McInerney)

The media never misses an opportunity to chase after some cheap heat instead of digging into the red meat. In this case, they pulled pictures off of Simmons’s Facebook profile showing him alongside right-wing heroes such as Allen West and Michelle Bachman. Somehow, they overlooked the pictures of General Paul Vallely with former Lebanese intelligence officer Nagi Najjar and Free Syrian Army representative Fahad Almasri. It is perfectly clear that Wayne and his clique from the Military Analyst Program are still hard at work making a concerted and coordinated effort to propagandize the American public with alarmist claims and fearmongering, but it is this group’s effort to undermine and hijack U.S. foreign policy that is far more interesting.

If anything pissed off the Obama administration and prompted a DOJ investigation, it certainly wasn’t the Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi, but rather this group’s unilateral push for intervention in Syria with the completely unreliable FSA. The DOJ would have gone after Wayne Simmons first simply because he is low-hanging fruit.

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(From left: Former Lebanese intelligence officer Nagi Najjar, Ret. Gen. Paul Vallely, and FSA representative Fahad Almasri meet in Paris on October 8th, 2014.)

Wayne’s cronies Paul Vallely and Thomas McInerney co-wrote a book titled “End Game,” in which they push for massive war against a good portion of the world all at once in order to defeat “terrorism.” The absurd claims in the book are too numerous to cover in this article, but suffice to say these two military analysts are purely amateur hour. They thought Iraq would be a cakewalk with relatively low troop commitments for a short period of time. While they plotted out the invasion on a cocktail napkin and pitched their plan on Fox News, our soldiers fought, bled, and died in the streets of Basra, Baghdad, Mosul, and Ramadi for another eight years.

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(FSA representative Fahad Almasri)

Following the coronation of the boy king, as Simmons likes to put it, Vallely and McInerney have not been satisfied with Obama’s foreign policy, especially in regards to Syria. From the perspective of the fringe right, they would like to intervene in Syria, knock out Hezbollah in Lebanon, and clear the path for an invasion of Iran. To this end, Vallely began making trips to Syria during the civil war, meeting with the Free Syrian Army.

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(Vallely with the FSA in Allepo, 2013)

Vallely has made a number of “fact-finding” trips to Syria to meet with those in the Free Syrian Army. Both he and McInerney insist that the United States government has supported the wrong faction of the FSA. Instead of supplying the “Muslim Brotherhood/Salafists Syrian Military Council backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” the U.S. should instead support “the FSA nationalistic command under Colonel Riad.” It sounds as if Vallely has taken what he was told at face value, the rebel group telling him what he needs to hear in order for them to secure American support.

The FSA is notoriously unreliable. The U.S. government shut down the handful of covert action programs it was running with the FSA and has instead lent support to the Kurdish YPG in recent weeks. Accounts gathered by SOFREP in Syria and Kurdistan have reported that the FSA is known to fight alongside ISIS in places like Aleppo and Kobani.

According to some sources, Vallely has lost any credibility back in Washington D.C., believing that the FSA is going to bring peace and democracy to Syria. In the end, Vallely has been taken for a ride by the FSA which is hoping for U.S. government handouts, and the retired general does not appear to understand the complicated local and regional dynamics at play in Syria. In short, Vallely wants to become the Thomas Jefferson of Syria, and he wants to be at the forefront of any U.S.-led covert-action programs that support rebel forces—two things that will certainly never happen. Vallely, McInerney, and Simmons got it wrong in Iraq, and now they are getting it wrong in Syria, repeating the exact same mistakes.

Was Wayne just a useful idiot?

One has to wonder if, after decades of lying about his history and constantly manipulating others with lies, Wayne Simmons did not lose track of his baseline personality. After constructing your entire life around a fraud, and getting so many people to buy that fraud, is it possible that Wayne started to believe his own lies? If SOFREP knew that Wayne Simmons was never in the CIA, then it is hard to believe that two retired generals like Vallely and McInerney did not know. Perhaps they simply saw Wayne as a useful idiot to parrot their agenda on television and do who knows what else behind the scenes.

Once the DOJ moved in, General Vallely wasted no time distancing himself from Simmons. “It’s just a sad commentary. He came off to me as a very honest, down-to-the-earth guy,” Vallely said to the Washington Post. Paul Vallely’s website, Stand Up America, also published a commentary on Wayne Simmons after his arrest, essentially throwing him to the wolves. “In the race to convict him in the media, we only hope that Mr. Simmons receives the benefit of all rights and procedures available to any accused citizen,” the website reads. The Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi has also erased Simmons’s name from their website pending his trial. None of Simmons’s cohorts are coming to his defense, and in fact seem afraid that the DOJ will be coming after them next.

In the end, Wayne Simmons was probably a useful idiot, but one of his specialities was finding other useful idiots. Some of those tales are just too ticklish to tell.

Meanwhile, Simmons faces a maximum sentence of 35 years—life in prison for a 62-year-old. At his pre-trial hearing, Simmons could not afford a lawyer, so the court is appointing him one.

Fake CIA agent: good work if you can get it

SOFREP’s profile of General McInerney reads:

“Thomas McInerney is not alone. He is one member of a clique of retired generals, admirals, and CIA officers who have created an echo chamber in which they cite each other as sources and stir up the political fringe of America. They do this intentionally, knowing that their alarmist messages will be diluted by the time they make their way down to more reasonable people. But in the meantime, the damage done to American politics is impossible to calculate.”

One of the members of this clique, which I left unnamed at the time of that article’s creation, was Wayne Simmons, along with the previously unmentioned Admiral Lyons. Simmons was interesting in that, while McInerney, Vallely, Lyons, and Lopez have actual military or CIA credentials, his background was fraudulent. Simmons surrounded himself with actual retired generals and sometimes CIA officers who had a use for him, using that association to trade up the food chain and keep himself relevant. In the process, he became a member of the faux-CIA industry, people who claim to be working for the CIA, and even recruit others to work for him—other useful idiots who think they are working for a legitimate CIA operation.

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We may never know the full extent of the private intelligence network and shady cabals trying to hijack American foreign policy behind the scenes, but it appears that some folks in the CIA and Department of Justice finally got fed up with it. Now we get to wait and see if he is offered a plea bargain for testimony against his former friends.

This article previously published on SOFREP 10.20.2015