On Tuesday, the New York Times published a story that had the politerati abuzz. The headline was bold: "Ben Carson Is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say." The piece reported that the GOP presidential candidate's "remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject," and it noted that "two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect." Duane Clarridge, a top adviser to Carson on terrorism and national security, told the Times, "Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East." Ouch.
The Carson campaign immediately blamed the messengers. Carson's spokesman called the article "an affront to good journalistic practices" and claimed that the Times had taken "advantage of an elderly gentleman." Clarridge -- known to his pals as Dewey -- is 82 years old. But the damage was done. Clarridge's observations reinforced the impression that Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is in over his head when it comes to national security issues.
A particularly intriguing aspect of this dustup was that Carson had turned to Clarridge for foreign policy advice. Often portrayed as a veteran spymaster in the media, Clarridge has indeed had a long career in intelligence, but it has been a checkered one.Go to Mother Jones to read the rest of this article.