Ben Carson’s presidential campaign has distanced itself from foreign advisor Duane R. Clarridge following comments he made on-the-record to The New York Times.
“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. 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 advisers.” said Doug Watts, the communications adviser for Carson’s campaign. “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 New York Times reported that two of Carson’s advisers were becoming frustrated with Carson’s foreign policy training.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Carson was unable to name the coalition he would form in response to ISIS attacks.
“He is learning, he is in school and he wants to know it just as well as the experts,” said Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager. “He is knee-deep in it.”
The New York Times described Clarridge as having “a colorful, even legendary” history in the American intelligence community and being “someone who could have stepped out of a Hollywood thriller.”
“Chile, the only reason it exists is because of Pinochet. What human price, give me a break. Thousands? What thousands?” Clarridge said about Pinochet’s political opponent killings. “We are gonna protect ourselves, and we are gonna go on protecting ourselves because we end up protecting all of you. We’ll intervene whenever we decide it’s in our national security interest to intervene. And if you don’t like it, lump it. Get used to it, world.”
The New York Times defended their interview by pointing out that the campaign referred Clarridge to the paper. “It was Ben Carson’s closest adviser, Armstrong Williams, who recommended that we talk to Mr. Clarridge and described Mr. Clarridge as a ‘mentor’ to Mr. Carson on foreign policy. Mr. Williams also gave us Mr. Clarridge’s phone number. Mr. Clarridge picked up the phone and our reporter, Trip Gabriel, conducted a very straightforward interview with him,” Ryan said.
“Mr. Clarridge was the only adviser whose name was given to us by Armstrong Williams.”