Ben Carson's campaign slams bombshell New York Times report as 'affront to good journalistic practices'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
How Damaging Is the NYT Story For Ben Carson?

One of Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson's foreign-policy advisers questioned the candidate's grasp of Middle East events in an interview with The New York Times, prompting a quick rebuke from the campaign.

Duane Clarridge, a former CIA agent whom The Times identified as a "top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security," said Carson struggles to understand the intricacies of the Middle East and that Carson needs weekly foreign-policy conference calls to "make him smart."

"Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East," Clarridge told The Times.

Click through to learn more about Ben Carson:

11 PHOTOS
Ben Carson facts you should know
See Gallery
Ben Carson's campaign slams bombshell New York Times report as 'affront to good journalistic practices'

1. He is a weekly opinion columnist for The Washington Times.

(Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

2. He is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and his father was a minister.

(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

3. He was raised in Detroit by a single mother, alongside is older brother Curtis.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

4. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States.

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

5. He was the first doctor to successfully separate occipital craniopagus twins in 1987.

(AP Photo/Fred Kraft)

6. He has written six bestselling books, all by an international Christian media and publishing company.

(AP Photo/Brian Witte)

7. He has criticized “political correctness” because he says it goes against freedom of expression, and became known for this idea when he was the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013.

(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

8. There’s a Lifetime movie made about his life, with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the starring role.


(Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP)

9. Before November of 2014 Carson was not a member of any political party.

(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

10. He and his wife started a scholarship fund called "Carson scholars fund" in 1994 which has so far awarded 6,700 scholarships to kids for "academic excellence and humanitarian qualities."

(Photo by Louis Myrie/WireImage via Getty)

HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

Clarridge was repeatedly described by The Times as a top Carson foreign-policy adviser, though Clarridge's exact role in the Carson campaign was not immediately clear. Carson's campaign pushed back on that description of Clarridge, and suggested the paper was taking "advantage of an elderly gentleman."

"Mr. Clarridge has incomplete knowledge of the daily, not weekly briefings, that Dr. Carson receives on important national security matters from former military and State Department officials," Doug Watts, a Carson campaign spokesman, told Business Insider in an email.

"He is coming to the end of a long career of serving our country. Mr. Clarridge's input to Dr. Carson is appreciated but he is clearly not one of Dr. Carson's top advisors. For the New York Times to take advantage of an elderly gentleman and use him as their foil in this story is an affront to good journalistic practices."

The breadth of Carson's foreign-policy knowledge was heavily scrutinized last week when he said during the Republican presidential debate that China was involved in the Syrian conflict.

See how Ben Carson has been doing in the polls recently:

In response to a question about President Barack Obama's decision to send 50 members of special operations forces to Syria and to keep 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan, the retired neurosurgeon said that having the US forces in Syria is better than not having them there. He then noted that Syria is a "very complex place."

"You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there," Carson said.

Foreign-policy experts and journalists questioned this analysis. And the White House colorfully shot down Carson's suggestion that China was involved in the Syrian conflict, a four-year civil war that has torn the country apart and allowed jihadist factions to grow as President Bashar Assad has struggled to hold on to power.

Amid the criticism, Carson's campaign released documents that attempted to explain Carson's assessment.

"China has had longstanding and well-documented security ties to Syria, provided various military weapons and equipment that Syria is using in the current conflict," a statement from the campaign said. "Dr. Carson does not believe China is currently fighting in or deploying troops to Syria, and contrary to press reports, he has never made that assertion.

But Armstrong Williams, a top Carson adviser, told Business Insider that intelligence sources and military operatives in the Middle East have told Carson that "Chinese military advisers are on the ground in Syria operating with Russia special operations personnel."

This week, Carson's advisers said his source for the information on China and Syria came from a phone conversation with a freelance American intelligence operative in Iraq, according to The Times. A Carson aide who was on the line noted that the source said that "multiple reports have surfaced that Chinese military advisers are on the ground in Syria, operating with Russian special operations personnel."

But Clarridge told The Times that the information turned out to be incorrect.

The Times reported that the Carson campaign's sole paid foreign-policy adviser was retired Army Gen. Robert Dees, who defended the candidate to The Times.

"Dr. Carson is an amazing intellect," he said. "He has the right stuff to be commander in chief."

The Times has not responded to a request for comment.

RELATED: See Carson on the campaign trail

12 PHOTOS
Ben Carson on the campaign trail
See Gallery
Ben Carson's campaign slams bombshell New York Times report as 'affront to good journalistic practices'
MT. AYR, IA - JANUARY 22 : Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is introduced during his 'Trust in God Townhall' campaign stop January 22, 2016 in Mt. Ayr, Iowa. Carson, who is seeking the nomination from the Republican Party is on the presidential campaign trail across Iowa ahead of the Iowa Caucus taking place February 1. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to the media before speaking at a gala for the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida at PGA National Resort on November 6, 2015 in Palm Beach, Florida. Carson has come under media scrutiny for possibly exaggerating his background and other statements he has made recently. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 16: Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson (L) eats a piece of pizza while touring the Iowa State Fair on August 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - OCTOBER 29: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a news conference before a campaign event at Colorado Christian University on October 29, 2015 in Lakewood, Colorado. Ben Carson was back on the campaign trail a day after the third republican debate held at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks outside the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity at Iowa State University during a campaign stop, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Scenes around the the Value Voters Summit on September 25, 2015 in Washington DC. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson takes the stage at the event. Dr Carson speaks to the media after the speach. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Attendees wait for Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, to arrive during a campaign stop at the birthplace of the Michigan Republican Party in Jackson, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Carson, the third candidate in the Republican race to have never held elected office, saw his numbers drop following the debate last week. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, listens as he attends a service at Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Carson will be speaking at the Iowa State Fair, which is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson participates in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, eats a slice of pizza as he tours the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. In a Sunday interview with Fox News, Carson doubled down on his assertion that a speech given by President Barack Obama intended to sell the American public on his nuclear deal with Iran contained 'coded innuendos employing standard anti-Semitic themes.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

NOW WATCH: The man who got spit on at a Donald Trump rally explains why he didn't fight back

See Also:

SEE ALSO: BEN CARSON: Here's the evidence that China is involved in Syria

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners