On October 31, 2017, we posted about the capture of Libyan national Mustafa al-Imam by U.S. special forces in Misrata, on the north coast of Libya. He was alleged to be involved in the 2012 deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya. An unnamed official told the AP at that time that the suspect was taken to a U.S. Navy ship at the Misrata port for transport to the United States. (see Libyan National Charged in 2012 Attack on U.S. Special Mission and Annex in #Benghazi). On June 17, 2019, DOJ announced that hel was found guilty of terrorism charges in the 2012 attack of the U.S. facilities in Benghazi. (see Libyan National Mustafa al-Imam Found Guilty of Terrorism Charges in 2012 Benghazi Attack (June 24, 2019).
On January 23, 2020, DOJ announced that Mustafa Al-Imam was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison. See below:
Mustafa Al-Imam Sentenced to More than 19 Years in Prison for September 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya
Mustafa al-Imam, a 47-year-old Libyan national, was sentenced today to 236 months in prison on federal terrorism charges and other offenses stemming from the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. government personnel Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty died in the attack.
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, Jay Tabb, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, and Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office.
“We have not rested in our efforts to bring to justice those involved in the terrorist attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, which led to the death of four courageous Americans – Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Ambassador Christopher Stevens – and we never will,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “Those responsible for these crimes must be held accountable. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors – and all of their partners in the U.S. government – who are responsible for this important investigation.”
“Today’s sentence demonstrates the United States’ continuing commitment to pursue justice against those who commit terrorist acts against the United States no matter how far we must go or how long it takes. Mustafa al-Imam played an important role in the terrorist attack that destroyed the U.S. Mission and the CIA Annex in Benghazi,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue justice against all those who murdered these four American heroes and who seriously injured our personnel defending these U.S. facilities overseas.”
“The tragic loss of four American lives in the Benghazi attacks will never be forgotten and today’s sentencing of Mustafa al-Imam is an important reminder of that,” said Jay Tabb, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “The FBI is committed to investigate and bring to justice all individuals involved in acts of terrorism against U.S. facilities or citizens and will use the full range of our resources to pursue such cases.”
“Mustafa al-Imam played a significant role in the 2012 Benghazi attack, one that ultimately claimed American lives,” said Assistant Director William F. Sweeney, Jr. “While nothing will ever change the outcome of this horrific event, today’s sentencing is a reminder that the safety of Americans—whether at home or abroad, civilian or otherwise—will always be our top priority. If you commit an act of terrorism, we will find you and bring you to justice.”
Al-Imam was captured in Libya on Oct. 29, 2017, and brought to the United States to face trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was found guilty by a jury on June 13, 2019, following a six-week trial, of one count of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists and one count of maliciously destroying and injuring dwellings and property, and placing lives in jeopardy within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. He was sentenced by the Honorable Christopher R. Cooper.
According to the government’s evidence, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, a group of extremists, armed with AK-47 rifles, grenades, and other weapons, swept into the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, setting fires and breaking into buildings. During that violence, Ambassador Stevens, Mr. Smith, and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Special Agent Scott Wickland valiantly tried to protect themselves when the attackers stormed into the Ambassador’s residence, sheltering in a secure area. However, when the attackers could not gain entry to the secure area, the attackers set fire to the residence. Ambassador Stevens and Mr. Smith suffocated from the thick, black smoke that enveloped the residence. Special Agent Wickland, who tried to guide them to safety, was injured and repeatedly took small arms fire while trying to rescue Ambassador Stevens and Mr. Smith.
Al-Imam arrived at the Mission shortly after the attack began, accompanying Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the leader of an extremist militia named Ubaydah bin Jarrah and one of the planners of the attack. During the attack on the Mission, al-Imam maintained contact with Khatallah in a series of cellphone calls, including an 18-minute phone call that took place during the height of the attack. Members of Ubaydah bin Jarrah, as well as other extremist groups, were caught on surveillance video attacking the Mission. After the American security personnel withdrew from the Mission, al-Imam, Khatallah, several UBJ members, and other extremists entered the Mission’s office and removed sensitive information, including maps and other documents related to the location of the CIA’s Annex in Benghazi.
Following the attack at the Mission, in the early hours of Sept. 12, 2012, the violence continued at the CIA Annex, first with gunfire and then with a precision mortar attack. While defending the Annex, Mr. Woods, Mr. Doherty, DSS Special Agent David Ubben, and CIA security specialist Mark Tiegen were hit by a precision mortar attack, leading to the deaths of Mr. Woods and Mr. Doherty. Special Agent Ubben and Mr. Tiegen were seriously wounded but survived.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office with substantial assistance from various other government agencies, including the Department of Defense and the two victim agencies, the CIA and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. The National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section provided significant assistance.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Cummings and Karen Seifert of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Assistance was provided by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Coleman and Jolie Zimmerman, Paralegal Specialist Donna Galindo, detailed Paralegal Specialist Ashley Davis, Intelligence Research Special Dustin Powell, contract Document Management Analyst Michael Watts, Victim-Witness Advocates Yvonne Bryant, Tonya Jones, Laverne Perry and Wanda Queen, and Litigation Technology Chief Leif Hickling. Earlier stages of the prosecution were handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiLorenzo and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Opher Shweiki and Julieanne Himelstein.
Prosecutors said Mustafa al-Imam deserved the maximum 35-year sentence for his role in the Benghazi attacks.
— Jim Mustian (@JimMustian) January 23, 2020
“These folks are very exposed and very vulnerable targets, as recent events have shown. Anyone contemplating hurting them will have to face strict consequences,” Judge Cooper said of U.S. officials abroad, before sentencing Mustafa Al-Imam. @CourthouseNews https://t.co/RrxXK5dB1J
— Megan Mineiro (@MMineiro_CNS) January 23, 2020
On June 17, DOJ announced that a Libyan national was found guilty of terrorism charges in the 2012 attack of the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
Excerpt from announcement:
Mustafa al-Imam, a Libyan national approximately 48 years old, was found guilty of terrorism charges for his participation in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. government personnel Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died in the attack at the Mission and the nearby Annex in Benghazi.
Al-Imam was captured in Libya on Oct. 29, 2017. He was found guilty of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists and maliciously destroying and injuring a dwelling and placing lives in jeopardy by a jury on June 13, 2019. The former charge is punishable by up to a maximum of 15 years in prison, while the latter charge is punishable by up to a maximum of 20 years in prison. The jury failed to reach a verdict on 15 other charged counts, leading the court to declare a mistrial on June 17, 2019. The government has not yet announced whether it plans to retry Al-Imam on the remaining counts. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court after considering the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The trial began with opening statements on May 8, 2019, before a jury in the courtroom of the Honorable Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Over the next four weeks, the government presented testimony from 27 witnesses. The witnesses included those who were wounded in the attack, as well as others who survived the attacks.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office with substantial assistance from various other government agencies, including the Department of Defense and the two victim agencies, the CIA and the Department of State.
Read the full statement here.
Folks might find that section and the rest of this interesting. Hat tip @HavenLabs
I’m blessed to be leading the finest diplomatic corps in the world. The @StateDept team puts its heart and soul into the service of our nation. Susan and I appreciate these patriots’ and their families’ commitment to the mission, and wish all Americans a Happy #Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/WM359vMcDg
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2018
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— USAID (@USAID) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Commercial Service (@USCommercialSvc) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) November 22, 2018
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) November 22, 2018
#HappyThanksgiving2018 from your #USNavy!
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— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) November 22, 2018
— CIA (@CIA) November 22, 2018
Posted: 2:19 am ET
We’ve followed the case of Sabrina de Sousa in this blog since 2009. She previously worked as an FSO for the State Department from 1998 to 2009. In a July 2013 interview with McClatchyDC, Ms. De Sousa confirmed that she worked under cover for the CIA in Milan, Italy.
- Sabrina De Sousa: “Patriots” till investigations and prosecutions by foreign courts… Nov 2016
- CIA Officer Declared as @StateDept Officer at Consulate Milan Faces Extradition to Italy April 2016
- De Sousa v. Dept of State, et al. – Diplomatic Immunity Whiplash Jan 2012
- 23 US Officials: Rendered Guilty in Italy Nov 2009
- Tough Dance at the Podium May 2009
According to the Guardian, the office of Italian President Sergio Mattarella issued a statement late Tuesday saying that De Sousa had been granted a partial pardon. It means a reduction of her four-year sentence of detention by one year. The statement cited by media reports indicate that De Sousa “would be able to serve her sentence with “alternative measures” to detention, meaning that she could avoid spending any time in jail.”
Posted: 12:12 am ET
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We’ve previously blogged about the case of Sabrina De Sousa, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in India who served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department from 1998 to 2009. In August 1998, she was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy as a Political Officer, Second Secretary. In May 2001, she was transferred to the U.S. Consulate in Milan as a Consular Officer for a tour of duty scheduled to end in May 2004. In dismissing the case against De Sousa filed against the State Department, United States District Judge, Beryl A. Howell on January 5, 2012 issued an opinion –here’s the important part:
“The facts underlying this case are troubling in many ways. The plaintiff served the government and the people of the United States in the Foreign Service for a decade. During the course of her service to this country, she was accused and convicted in absentia of committing a crime in a foreign nation, not for any personal gain, but at the alleged behest of the United States government. According to her allegations, she requested the government’s assistance to counter the charges against her in Italy, but received none and was instead “[e]ffectively abandoned and left to fend for herself.” Am. Compl. at 2. Following her foreign conviction, she faces the risk of arrest and imprisonment if she travels outside the United States, which is a particular hardship in her case both because of the impact on her professional options and because she is a naturalized citizen with family members living abroad. Then, when the plaintiff sought judicial review in this Court, the government did little to minimize the “logistical obstacles” presented by the need to protect against the inadvertent disclosure of classified information, but rather denied her counsel the use of a secure computer to draft filings and “threatened” the continuation of her counsel’s security clearance. ECF No. 63 at 13 n.6. The message that this scenario sends to civilian government employees serving this country on tours of duty abroad is a potentially demoralizing one.”
- CIA Officer Declared as @StateDept Officer at Consulate Milan Faces Extradition to Italy (2016)
- De Sousa v. Dept of State, et al. – Diplomatic Immunity Whiplash (2012)
In a July 2013 interview with McClatchyDC, Ms. De Sousa confirmed that she worked under cover for the CIA in Milan.
Confirming for the first time that she worked undercover for the CIA in Milan when the operation took place, Sabrina De Sousa provided new details about the “extraordinary rendition” that led to the only criminal prosecution stemming from the secret Bush administration rendition and detention program launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Among the allegations made by De Sousa in a series of interviews with McClatchy:
– The former CIA station chief in Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, whom she called the mastermind of the operation, exaggerated Nasr’s terrorist threat to win approval for the rendition and misled his superiors that Italian military intelligence had agreed to the operation.
– Senior CIA officials, including then-CIA Director George Tenet, approved the operation even though Nasr wasn’t wanted in Egypt and wasn’t on the U.S. list of top al Qaida terrorists.
– Condoleezza Rice, then the White House national security adviser, also had concerns about the case, especially what Italy would do if the CIA were caught, but she eventually agreed to it and recommended that Bush approve the abduction.
“I don’t have any of the cables with me. Please put that down,” De Sousa added with a nervous laugh, her unease reflecting the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks of classified information to journalists.
De Sousa, 57, a naturalized U.S. citizen from India’s state of Goa, was one of 23 Americans convicted in absentia in 2009 by a Milan court for Nasr’s abduction. She received a five-year sentence. An appeals court in 2011 added two more years, and Italy’s Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Nineteen of the Americans, De Sousa said, “don’t exist,” because they were aliases used by the CIA snatch team.
The case drew fresh attention this month when Panama detained Robert Seldon Lady, the CIA’s former Milan station chief, whom the Italian court had sentenced to nine years in prison. But Panama released him within 24 hours and allowed him to fly to the United States, rather than wait for Italy to request his extradition.
Another convicted American, Air Force Col. Joseph Romano, who oversaw security at Aviano, the U.S. base from which Nasr was flown out of Italy, received a seven-year term. But Italian President Giorgio Napolitano pardoned him in April under U.S. pressure.
The Bush and the Obama administrations, however, have refused to ask Italy to do the same for De Sousa, who insists that she qualified for diplomatic immunity as a second secretary accredited to the U.S. Embassy in Rome.
[H]er treatment, she said, provides a warning to U.S. employees serving around the world. If they get prosecuted while doing their jobs, she said, “You have no protection whatsoever. Zero.”
An old piece from 2013 but worth reading again, given that the new CIA appointee called officials who waterboarded patriots. Ms. De Sousa writes on Twitter, “Patriots” till investigations and prosecutions by foreign courts…then abandoned. #milanrendition #scapegoatery
Posted: 1:26 am ET
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On September 1, 2016, the State Department updated its 12 FAM 250 policy on the use of the polygraph to examine Department employees (including employees on the General Schedule, the Foreign Service, on Personal Service Contracts, Limited NonCareer Appointees, and Locally Employed Staff).
Per 12 FAM 251.2-2, the Office of Investigations and Counterintelligence (DS/DO/ICI) Counterterrorism Vetting Unit (CCV) administers the polygraph program and is responsible for hiring polygraph examiners, responding to requests for polygraph support, deploying polygraph examiners, and maintaining relevant records.
- Streamlines the polygraph examination process by removing a requirement to seek pre-approval before a DS or OIG agent can ask an employee if s/he is willing to submit to a polygraph.
- Authorizes a DS agent or Department OIG investigator to alert an employee or contractor, currently subject to a criminal, personnel security, or counterintelligence investigation, that s/he has the option to undergo an exculpatory polygraph examination, rather than limiting exculpatory polygraphs to cases where it is initiated by the individual under investigation.
- Allow polygraphs of Department employees detailed to federal agencies (in addition to the NSA, CIA, and DIA) when the relevant agency requires a polygraph to be detailed to the position. Polygraphs of employees detailed to agencies other than the NSA, CIA, or DIA will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require approval from the Under Secretary for Management.
- Limits the scope of polygraph examinations of Department detailees to other federal agencies to counterintelligence topics for all detailees.
- Formalize existing processes for polygraph examination of certain locally employed staff, in accordance with the approvals specified in the polygraph policy
Back in May 2015, we questioned the use of the CIA’s polygraph exams of State Department employees (see AFSA Elections: What’s Missing This Campaign Season? Fire, Ice and Some Spirited Debates, Please).
Do you know that Department employees who take the CIA’s polygraph examination for detail assignments will have the results of their polygraph provided to DS and HR for security clearance and assignment purposes? A source told us that “In and of itself, it does no harm if the CIA retains them for its clearance purposes, but it can have an unanticipated negative impact when indiscriminately released by the CIA to third parties, like DS and HR, who use them in violation of the CIA’s restrictions to the Department and assurances to the examinees.” If this affects only a fraction of the Foreign Service, is that an excuse not to do anything about it, or at a minimum, provide an alert to employees contemplating these detail assignments?
We’ve recently discovered a newly posted grievance case dated March 2010. We don’t know why this is currently on display upfront on fsgb.gov. In any case, this is related to the subject of polygraph examination.
On June 24, 2009, grievant, a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer, appealed to the FS Grievance Board the State Department’s (Department) denial of his grievance with respect to the use of the results of a polygraph exam he took in 2003 in conjunction with a detail to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Grievant claims the improper handling and use of the results of that exam violated the Department’s own regulations (12 FAM 250) and resulted in his having been denied a Presidential Appointment as a Chief of Mission (Ambassador). The ROP includes some interesting interrogatories:
#1: Has the Department ever obtained a Department employee’s polygraph examination results from the CIA for a personnel security background investigation based on the employee’s SF-86 signed release? If so, please describe the circumstances under which this would occur.
The Department objected to answering this interrogatory on the grounds that is was overbroad, immaterial, and irrelevant.
IR #6e for Diplomatic Security Case Ofﬁcer for the second background investigation: Have you ever requested an employee’s polygraph results from the CIA before? If so, under what circumstances‘?
The Department found this interrogatory overbroad, irrelevant, and immaterial.
Ruling on IR #6e: Under the more ample concept of relevance applied at the discovery stage, the Board ﬁnds that the information requested is sufficiently relevant to grievant’s claims or likely to lead to the discovery of information relevant to such claims to compel discovery. The information requested may help to clarify the Department’s practice in applying the regulations governing the use of polygraphs that are issue in this case. We do not ﬁnd the request to impose such a burden on the Department as to outweigh the potential usefulness of the information requested. The Department is directed to respond.
IR # 7h for Diplomatic Security: Does DS routinely request and receive polygraph examination results on all Department employees who have taken polygraph examinations at the CIA as part of their routine background security investigations?
The Department objected to this interrogatory as irrelevant and immaterial in all respects.
The Department was directed to respond to grievant’s Interrogatories 6e and 7h not later than 20 days after receipt of the order but we have been unable to find the decision on this case.
On June 24, 2009, grievant filed a grievance appeal, claiming improper use by the Department (Department, agency) of the results of a polygraph examination he had taken in conjunction with a detail from the Department to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The grievant makes several specific claims:
1) that the CIA provided the results of the polygraph to a Diplomatic Security (DS) agent in the Department, in violation of Department regulations and CIA policy;
2) that the Department requested and/or received the polygraph results from the CIA, in violation of its own regulations;
3) that the Department improperly used the polygraph results in the course of security update investigations; and
4) that the Department improperly provided information drawn from the polygraph to the Director General (DG), which resulted in the DG withdrawing grievant’s nomination to be a chief of mission. The FSGB Board finds that it has jurisdiction over the claims presented by the grievant.
Posted: 1:20 am ET
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The media has taken to calling the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte as “Duterte Harry” after Hollywood’s Dirty Harry. The Guardian says that the Philippine president is exploiting the rivalry of China and the US to wage a ‘ war on drugs’ that is cover for a tide of extrajudicial killings. A Philippine newspaper is now attempting to document the names and other particulars of the casualties in the Duterte administration’s war on crime with a KILL LIST. The list is updated every Monday and Thursday.
One day, President Duterte told reporters that the military exercise next month with U.S. troops will be the last. His Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay had to walk it back the following day. Another day, he told reporters that he is “about to cross the Rubicon” with the U.S. and FM Yasay had to play it down.
Within the last 24 hours, President Duterte has also accused the CIA of planning to kill him.
As if that’s not enough to break the foreign ministry’s news traffic, he apparently has now likened himself to Hitler and wants to kill millions of drug users. Below according to Reuters:
Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Duterte said: “There are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I’d be happy to slaughter them.
“If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” he said, pausing and pointing to himself.
Read through the tweets below, and take this as fair warning for November.
Let’s hear it from the Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay:
FM Yasay playing the let’s downplay this Rubicon crap, shall we?
Here is President Duterte getting potty-mouth with the European Union, though attempting to be civilized, he only used “F” not the word.
Here is FM Yasay trying to calm the waters:
Now, Duterte Harry has reportedly received reports that the CIA is planning to kill him. Yup, the CIA.
FM Yasay may have to hire creative writers for his shop in Manila to help him explain the Philippine president’s often intemperate comments. And he may need new pairs of shoes for all the walking back he has to do in the next fews years.
And because telling reporters that the CIA is out to kill you is not exciting enough for the news cycle, let’s see how Duterte Harry will top that? He brought up, Hitler, because why not?
Apparently, investors did not like what they were hearing. And that was before the Hitler comment.
Posted: 3:27 am ET
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We’ve previously posted about this case here: Ex-Fox News Commentator Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Dents Benghazi Cottage Industry. On July 15, USDOJ announced that Wayne Shelby Simmons was sentenced to 33 months in prison “for major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.” The sentence also includes three years of supervised release, forfeiture of two firearms and $175,612 in criminal proceeds, and restitution to his victims.
Via USDOJ | CIA Imposter Sentenced to Prison for Fraud
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Wayne Shelby Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, a former Fox News commentator who has falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense. Simmons was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, to forfeit two firearms and $175,612 in criminal proceeds, and to pay restitution to his victims.
“Wayne Simmons is a fraud,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons has no military or intelligence background, or any skills relevant to the positions he attained through his frauds. He is quite simply a criminal and a con man, and his fraud had the potential to endanger national security and put American lives at risk in Afghanistan. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their efforts on this complicated case.”
“With this sentencing, Simmons now faces the consequences of his criminal activity, deceit, and dishonesty,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “He fraudulently obtained positions with the U.S. government by lying about his previous employment and history, and further, defrauded a victim through a bogus real estate investment scheme. Simmons abused people’s trust for his own selfish gain, and in doing so placed lives at risk and jeopardized national security.”
“Mr. Simmons never worked at CIA and we are pleased that justice was served in this case,” said Dean Boyd, Director of CIA’s Office of Public Affairs.
Simmons pleaded guilty on April 29. According to court documents, Simmons defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, in 2009 when he attempted to obtain work with the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Service, 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 (CAAT). To obtain these positions and the security clearances they required, Simmons made false statements about his financial, employment, and criminal history, including that he had worked for the CIA, that he had previously possessed a top secret security clearance, and that his prior criminal convictions related to his supposed clandestine work. In order to obtain the CAAT position, Simmons also lied about the nature of the work he had done just a year earlier with the Human Terrain Systems program, a program from which he had been forced to resign prior to deployment. The government’s investigation determined that Simmons was never associated with the CIA in any capacity and that during the years he claims to have worked for the agency, he was instead working in a variety of capacities and having various run-ins with the law. His work activities from 1973-2000 include: defensive back for the New Orleans Saints NFL team, nightclub doorman, manager at a rent-by-the-hour hot tub business, bookie, operator of a limousine business and an AIDS-testing business, mortgage broker, and employment at an anti-graffiti business. During that time, the defendant was also convicted of state firearms, assault, and gambling charges and federal firearms charges.
Simmons also defrauded an individual victim, identified as E.L., out of $125,000 in connection with a bogus real estate investment. As part of the fraud, Simmons sent E.L. promised monthly disbursements to make it appear as if her funds had been invested as promised and repeatedly lied to her about the whereabouts of her money in order to perpetuate the fraud. There was never any actual real estate investment project, and Simmons simply spent the funds.
Finally, when Simmons was arrested in this case, he was found to be in possession of two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing on account of his prior felony convictions.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Nathanson and James L. Trump prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1: 15-cr-293.
Click file to read the indictment (PDF) via USDOJ/USAO/Eastern District of Virginia.
This is a guy who was part of the Pentagon’s Retired Military Analysts program whose members, the um… “message force multipliers” were given regular briefings from Donald Rumsfeld, then the secretary of defense. Read the wild story on how this con unraveled: The Plot to Take Down a Fox News Analyst via NYT mag.