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The Cable

Former CIA Chief: Carson’s Instincts the Foreign-Policy Class of the GOP Presidential Field

Michael Hayden says Ben Carson is the most impressive GOP candidate when it comes to foreign policy.


Republican presidential front-runner Ben Carson has a lot of foreign-policy critics. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden isn’t one of them.

On Friday morning, a day after the White House dismissed Carson’s claim that Chinese military forces are fighting in Syria, Hayden was asked on MSNBC if he was concerned with Carson’s knowledge of foreign affairs. The retired Air Force four-star general and former National Security Agency director said he was impressed with Carson.

“I must admit I had one lengthy phone call with Dr. Carson about two months ago,” Hayden said.

“His instincts are all right,” he added. “He asked the right questions…. he had good follow-on questions.”

The former CIA chief also defended Carson’s assertion that China is in Syria.

“I think he was trying to say when we’re absent from the playing field, we leave a vacuum in which other powers may enter,” Hayden said.

Hayden’s endorsement of Carson’s foreign-policy instincts could prove useful if the former surgeon’s rivals, including businessman Donald Trump, continue to attack him on that front. Even so, Carson’s China claim continues to be a dubious one, given that Chinese officials have denied they’re involved and said they have no intention of doing so.

Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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