Fox News host Neil Cavuto took responsibility Friday for recurring appearances by a man who was discovered to be lying about being a former CIA operative.
His mea culpa came one day after Wayne Simmons, who appeared on Fox News for the past decade as a terrorism expert and former CIA agent, was indicted on charges he falsified his credentials and used them to gain a defense contract and special government security clearances.
“In the last 24 hours, it has come to our attention that a frequent guest on this show might not have been who he purported to be. Federal prosecutors now claim Wayne Simmons was not a former CIA operative or for that matter ever worked at the CIA at all,” Cavuto said Friday to close his Fox News show “Your World.” “If it’s true that all our due diligence and vetting on Mr. Simmons missed this, that’s big, and that’s on me. And only me.
“You, as viewers, have little reason to be comforted by the excuse that Mr. Simmons might, and I stress might, have fooled many others, including no less than former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.”
Despite that, Cavuto took the responsibility on himself.
“The responsibility to check out who comes on this show ultimately lies with me. After all, it’s my Italian name on it. I’m in charge of it. I decide who comes on it,” he said. “If I wasn’t thorough enough or followed up enough, it’s on me, and I apologize.”
Cavuto called the mistake “very rare” but “very big,” and promised to work “very hard” to regain the trust of his viewers.
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