Republicans hate and fear Clinton, and they’ll do just about anything to stop her — up to and including fraud, if Wayne Simmons is any demonstration.
So, just who is this Wayne Simmons guy and why the hell should you care?
By now you’ve heard of Benghazi, and what happened there. This is important because Simmons — by presenting himself as a national security expert who spent 27 years working for the CIA — was a major player in the conservative media push for the congressional investigation.
Anatomy of a Witch Hunt
Simmons built a reputation in the right-wing media as a man who looked the part that he claimed to be. Described by the Rolling Stone magazine as, “white mustache, neck bulging out of his dress shirt, a handshake ‘so hard, he can crush you with it.” Simmons offered his fictional expertise and red meat for the audience by telling them exactly what they wanted to hear: Clinton was guilty of what happened at Benghazi and that it was all Obama’s fault. That we were soft on terror. That we needed more war, less peace, and only a manly man can do what needs to be done.
Simmons attacked the Democrats on foreign policy issues and national security issues, claiming at one point “If the Democrats come into power in the United States and re-employ their vision of defense for this country, we will have 9-1-1s unabated.”
If you’re wondering, this is how fear mongering works. To even get close to the number of Americans killed this year alone by gun violence, we’d need September 11 to happen five times. To match the 2015 death toll, we’d need September 11 to happen close to eighteen times.
Simmons was also a member of Accuracy in Media’s “Citizens’ Commission” on Benghazi — which was part of the conservative media’s ultimately successful push to get the House Republicans to set up a panel to investigate Benghazi. During this time, Simmons often accused Obama of having decided “to not rescue our former CIA operatives and our military” in Libya.
But as is often the case, he wasn’t what he claimed to be, and it all fell apart last October when prosecutors for the Department of Justice charged him with multiple cases of fraud.
And today, on April 29, those charges came home to roost: Simmons, for his role in the Benghazi push, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.
In the press release, the DOJ noted that Simmons “falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency.” It added that he had pleaded guilty to major fraud against the government, a firearms offense, and wire fraud, all of them serious charges. The release went on to state that:
Simmons admitted he defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team.
Dana J. Boente, a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made a statement accusing Simmons of trying to “con” himself into a position where “he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone,” and that the fraud was an insult to real soldiers and put American lives at risk:
Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone. His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country.
AIM has since tried to cram everything about Simmons down the memory hole, while Fox News acknowledged his appearances but claimed he “was never employed by the channel and was never paid by Fox.”
Ultimately, that’s what Fox’s lies come down to — who was paid by whom to say what. Because if that weren’t true, Benghazi would’ve remained a tragedy, instead of becoming a conservative political football and, ultimately, a synonym for partisan farce.
Feature image via The Wrap