Wayne Simmons, the tough-talking, all-American patriot who has been a “Terror Analyst” at Fox News since 2002, is a fraud, a shyster, and an all-around con man. He fooled Uncle Rupert, and he managed to fool Uncle Sam, worming his way into numerous government contracts, high security clearances, and a cushy job advising senior military officers around the world.

Let’s hope those military officers didn’t take any of his advice, since his military experience apparently consists of playing with toy soldiers as a boy. Talk about padding a resume. According to Wayne Simmons’ website, he was recruited from the US Navy by the CIA in 1973 to help operate its Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Group. It was a job he claimed to have worked for almost thirty years. During that time, he says he went up against some of the most dangerous drug cartels and arms smugglers on the planet. When called out on his story, he had a convenient and plausible answer: “Nobody knew who I was…nobody was allowed to know who I was.”

Interestingly, the Navy has no record of Simmons ever having served among its ranks. The Department of Justice has not stated what it was that caught the attention of investigators. However, the media reports that criminal charges now pending against Simmons are primarily based on allegations of making false statements on government applications in order to obtain contracts and security clearances.

So far, the CIA isn’t saying anything, but a spokesperson for the agency says they are cooperating with the DoJ.

Simmons’ con game also won him a huge platform for spreading right-wing propaganda on a level that would have made Josef Goebbels envious. It’s not surprising that Fox News would have fallen for it. After all, folks like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson are famous for their ability to create “facts” in lieu of doing any sort of in-depth research and fact-checking.

However, the fact that Simmons was able to convince the United States Government and the Bush Administration of his credentials is very disturbing. Most people desiring employment with the Federal Government in any capacity – even as a letter carrier – are required to pass extensive background checks. But the Bush Administration didn’t bother to verify one detail of Simmons’ curriculum vita. They simply took him at his word, and Simmons became part of the Pentagon Outreach Program for Military and Intelligence Analysts and served as a consultant to the President in crafting the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

All of this begs the question of whether or not national security has been compromised.

Simmons’ elaborate con game has continued under President Obama’s Administration as well. In 2010, he was on the staff of the Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team in Afghanistan. Today, he boasts of his membership with the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, a collection of right-wing conspiracy wingnuts who (surprise!) have it in for President Obama.

Ironically, Simmons claims to be the “sole inventor and patent holder” of a “Fraud Prevention Software” known as HADRIAN. According to his website, he is the CEO of Securus, LLC, a “Delaware Limited Liability Company” (a company actually based in New Jersey that deals in the sale of “leads” to multi-level marketers).

One thing is certain. Wayne Simmons missed his calling. He is an actor of rare ability. He played his role so well that friends and neighbors refuse to believe the allegations. To his neighbors, Simmons, his wife and daughters appeared to be no different than any other suburban, middle-class family.  Friend and neighbor David Zehner told the Washington Post that he “wouldn’t doubt Wayne a bit.” Defending Simmons, Zeyher added, “I think he has to sometimes conceal what his purposes are, what he’s done…there was only so much he could tell me in the CIA.”

Another acquaintance, General Paul Vallely (Ret.) says when it came talking shop, Simmons was “very knowledgeable…about CIA operations, covert operations especially.” He’s willing to give Simmons benefit of the doubt. He told the Post it was possible that “…he was on a contract, wasn’t an employee of the CIA necessarily, but was on a highly sensitive, compartmented contract of the CIA.”

Not all of Simmons’ associates are standing by him. The Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi has removed Simmons’ from the members list until his fate has been determined. According his colleague, Roger Aronoff, Commission members were “stunned and saddened” when they heard the news about Simmons.

Aronoff also reminds us that “As with everyone charged with a crime or crimes in this country, he is innocent until proven guilty.” Eventually, Simmons will have his day in court, presenting his own side of the story to a jury of his peers in accordance with his Constitutional rights. Unable to afford legal counsel, Simmons will be represented by a court-appointed public defender.

Even if Simmons is convicted on any or all charges, he will have a literary career to fall back on. He is the co-author of an espionage thriller entitled The Natanz Directive, which he claims is based on his own experiences. While it does not quite come up to the level of Ian Fleming or Tom Clancy, it has received several positive reviews on Amazon. According to Simmons’ website, the story has even been optioned by a minor film studio. That website also states that his old colleague, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “Wayne Simmons doesn’t just write it. He’s lived it, and that’s why he and [co-author] Mark Graham can tell this spy thriller in such an engrossing way.”

A spokesperson for Rumsfeld could neither confirm nor deny the veracity of that statement.

Read about Simmons’ more outrageous lies and inane proposals on Salon.com.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.