Ben Carson literally knows nothing about the Middle East, according to one of his advisors

A national security advisor to GOP presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson told the New York Times that Carson needed weekly conference calls on foreign policy so that they could “make him smart.”

Duane Clarridge, who’s also an ex-CIA agent, ripped into Carson even further, claiming that “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,”

Carson has been under fire in recent weeks for a series of confusing answers on national security-related questions, including the time he said that China was involved in Syria militarily. That isn’t true.

The candidate’s campaign shot down the Times report, saying the publication was taking advantage of Clarridge, an “elderly man,” and that he isn’t a “top” advisor, to which the New York Times replied that Carson’s campaign had specifically put them in touch with Clarridge for the story.

Carson himself went on PBS NewsHour Tuesday and downplayed his involvement with Clarridge. “He is a person who has come in on a couple of our sessions to offer his opinions,” he said. “To call himself my advisor would be a great stretch.”

Carson said he knows a lot more about national security and foreign policy now than he did a year ago.

Story by Allan Smith and editing by Stephen Parkhurst

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.