Adviser Says Carson Can't Get Grasp on Foreign Policy
The briefings aren't sticking, former CIA agent says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2015 1:35 AM CST
Updated Nov 18, 2015 6:22 AM CST
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a news conference on Monday in Henderson, Nev.   (AP Photo/John Locher)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Ben Carson is finding it very difficult to get a grasp of foreign policy, according to at least one of the advisers that have been trying to explain it to him. "Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East," former CIA agent Duane R. Clarridge, who has been advising the candidate on terrorism and national security, tells the New York Times. Clarridge and top Carson adviser Armstrong Williams say they were frustrated by the candidate's appearance on Fox News Sunday, where he failed to name the allies he would contact first for an anti-ISIS coalition.

Clarridge tells the Times that Carson's claim during last week's debate that the Chinese are in Syria appears to have come from a US intelligence source in Iraq who "overleaped." After the unusually frank interview with the 83-year-old Clarridge appeared, a Carson campaign spokesman told Business Insider that it was an "affront to good journalistic practices" for the Times to "take advantage of an elderly gentleman," adding that the candidate has more than a dozen foreign policy advisers and receives daily briefings. The Times countered that it was "Williams who recommended that we talk to Mr. Clarridge and described Mr. Clarridge as a 'mentor' to Mr. Carson on foreign policy."