The 24/7 cable “news” networks are giving air time to any “national security experts,” regardless of their credentials and backgrounds, to bash Russia. The current political firestorm over Trump campaign officials meeting with Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak has taken on the aura of the “Red baiting” of the 1950s and Senator Joe McCarthy looking for Communists in every nook and cranny inside the federal government. MSNBC has been the worst network regarding the mole hunt for modern-day Alger Hisses burrowed within the Trump inner circle. However, CNN follows a close second in the resurrection of a version of the John Birch Society among Democrats and Russia-bashing Republicans like Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Ben Sasse.
One would think that MSNBC and CNN would be careful in their selection of national security commentators. Fox News was burned twice by inviting on as security experts two frauds. Wayne Simmons claimed he spent 27 years in the Central Intelligence Agency. Simmons never worked for the CIA but his tall tales not only got him on Fox as a regular commentator on national security issues but also a seat on a civilian panel investigating the Benghazi attack of 2012 and jobs with two Washington-based defense contractors, where he dealt with Afghanistan issues.
Simmons, who managed to hoodwink Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and U.S. Afghanistan commander General Stanley McChrystal with his “credentials,” is serving a 33-month federal prison sentence for fraud. Dana J. Boente, the chief federal prosecutor in Alexandria, Virginia, who brought criminal charges against Simmons, said that “Wayne Simmons is a fraud,” adding that the con artist had “no military or intelligence background, or any skills relevant to the positions he attained through his frauds.” Boente is currently the acting deputy Attorney General, who is handling the Justice Department’s investigations into Russian involvement with the Trump campaign in the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself.
Not learning from the lesson of Simmons, Fox News did it again. Recently, the network featured a Swedish “national security expert” named Nils Bildt. The “expert,” who claimed to have knowledge of violent Muslim crimes committed in Sweden, a charge echoed by Trump in a speech, was another total fraud. Bildt, who was introduced on the Bill O’Reilly program as a “Swedish defense and national security adviser,” was unknown to the Swedish Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs and the Swedish intelligence service. It turned out that “Nils Bildt” was an adopted alias for Nils Tolling, who emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1994. In 2014, Bildt/Tolling was arrested in Arlington, Virginia, for assaulting a law enforcement officer, obstruction of justice, and public drunkenness. On November 10, 2014, Bildt/Tolling was sentenced to a year in prison.
Although two of Fox News’s “national security experts” ended up in prison, CNN is featuring commentary from a former Naval War College professor and pervert who was fired from his job for “sexting” a photo of his genitals to a woman. [Warning! Graphic photo link] who was not his wife. John Schindler, who claims to have overseen major intelligence programs at the National Security Agency as a mere lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, is a more ubiquitous Twitterer than even Donald Trump. Schindler is also a professional Russia-basher, as can be seen from his tweets and his blog called XX Committee. On his LinkedIn page, Schindler claims to lecture about terrorism, intelligence, and strategy, “to diverse audiences in many countries, and in several languages.” Judging from his tweets, the only things Schindler can possibly convey in multiple foreign languages are profane comments.
Schindler’s PhD from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario—Schindler says that anyone who does not possess a PhD is unworthy of criticizing him—and history of making caustic and incendiary comments on Twitter about his critics (who include the WMR editor) managed to earn him a regular national security column in The New York Observer, the New York newspaper owned by Jared Kushner. Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser. With news reports confirming that both Kushner and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with Ambassador Kislyak at the Trump Tower in December 2016, it will be interesting to see whether Schindler bashes Kushner at the risk of losing his column. Recently, Schindler has tweeted that his intelligence “insider” friends predict that not only will Trump end up in prison for treason but he will die there.
Another “national security expert” with puffed up credentials is frequent Trump basher Malcolm Nance, a frequent national security commentator on MSNBC. From his high-level sweeping comments about Trump’s problems with Russia, the CIA, as well as other geo-political matters, one would think that Nance is a retired flag officer. However, Nance retired from the Navy as a senior chief petty officer. While the “chiefs” do serve as the backbone of the Navy, Nance’s “worldview” comes from the fact that he learned Arabic while an NSA linguist as a “CT,” or “cryptologic technician.”
Nance also claims to have witnessed American Airlines flight 77 crash into the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001, a claim that very few credible witnesses in the area that morning have been able to make. Nance’s “academic credentials” include lecturing on terrorism at Macquarie University’s Centre on Policing, Intelligence and Counter-terrorism (PICT) in Sydney, Australia, and at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, hardly substitutes for an actual college degree. One important caveat to Nance’s “credentials” is that he began his television commentary career on Fox News, the same network that featured the phonies Simmons and Bildt/Tolling.
Television news producers are often totally ignorant of how the military and intelligence agencies work. News anchors have often referred to Navy personnel as “troops” and “soldiers.” Non-commissioned officers like Nance are called “officers” and poltroons like Schindler are given far too much credit for what their jobs in the military or intelligence agencies actually entailed. As long as TV news producers maintain their ignorance of all things military and intelligence, fake news will be paired with phony commentators.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).