23 Oct 15. Fox News analyst pleads not guilty to CIA fraud charges. A Fox News guest terrorism analyst pleaded not guilty on Friday to U.S. charges that he falsely claimed to have been a CIA agent for decades, federal prosecutors said.
Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, a Washington suburb, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Trial was set for Feb. 23. The Speedy Trial Act was waived because Judge T.S. Ellis III found the case “unusual and complex,” the statement said.
Simmons had appeared on Fox News, the top-ranked U.S. cable television news network, as an unpaid guest analyst on terrorism since 2002.
A grand jury indicted him last week for portraying himself as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the CIA 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. A federal judge has ordered Simmons held in jail, citing arrests for driving under the influence and assault and firearms convictions.
The prosecutors’ statement said Simmons’ lawyer, public defender Whitney Minter, was seeking a top secret clearance. (Source: Reuters)
22 Oct 15. Obama Issues 2016 NDAA Veto. In a gambit to pressure Republicans into a larger budget deal, President Obama vetoed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday over what he called a Republican “gimmick” to fund defense — the use of a wartime account known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).
“I’m going to be vetoing this authorization bill, I’m going to be sending it back to Congress and my message to them is very simple: let’s do this right. We’re in the midst of budget discussions,” Obama said in an Oval Office signing ceremony. “Let’s have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security, let’s make sure that we’re able in a constructive way to reform our military spending to make it sustainable over the long term.”
Acknowledging his responsibility to keep the military properly funded, Obama said the bill “does a number of good things,” but “falls woefully short in key areas.” Chiefly, it keeps in place the sequester and “resorts to gimmicks that has not allowed the Pentagon to do what it needs to do,” he said.
The president and Democrats have opposed the 2016 NDAA because it supports a $38bn plus-up to defense through OCO, which skirts Budget Control Act caps. Meanwhile, Republicans claim a veto not only sends the wrong message at a time when the US faces multiple national security dilemmas, but it endangers the bill’s policy provisions, particularly those aimed at acquisition reform.
The chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. William “Mac” Thornberry, R-Texas — held a news conference Tuesday with 12 members of Congress who served in the military. They vowed to press ahead with a vote to override the veto, though it appears not to have the votes to succeed.
“In all my years in the United States Senate I have never witnessed something so misguided, cynical and downright dangerous than vetoing the defense authorization for reasons that have nothing to do with defense,” McCain said.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, said the veto was symptomatic of the US “losing our voice and leadership” in world affairs.
“It’s extremely disappointing that with all this unrest in the Middle East, the president would even entertain the thought of vetoing the NDAA,” Ernst said.
As the 2016 NDAA’s proponents like to note, the bill does not appropriate funding, but sets policy, creating authorization to spend on a wide range of acquisition p