TEL AVIV – Evan McMullin, a former undercover CIA agent who announced he will run as an independent in the U.S. presidential election in November, studied in Israel during his undergraduate degree.
McMullin, a member of the Mormon Church, announced his candidacy on Monday.
The 40-year-old candidate, who also served as a senior national security and policy adviser in the House of Representatives, studied in Israel while he was a student at Brigham Young University. He was a David L. Boren Scholar with the Defense Department’s National Security Education Program.
He called his studies in Israel “a perfect capstone to the traditional coursework I had done in Provo.”
Citing the Congressional Record, Tablet reported that McMullin traveled to Turkey and Jordan in 2013, and made another trip to Turkey the following year. He also visited Egypt and Iraq that year, and is said to have contacts with the Glover Park Group, which represented the Egyptian government under Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
In 2013, Foreign Policy magazine reported that McMullin met with Free Syrian Army generals, affirming rumors that the candidate opposes the Bashar Assad regime. McMullin also studied in Damascus in the early 2000s and was struck by how scared Syrians were to voice any criticism towards their government.