Ben Carson’s presidential campaign is hammering rival candidate Sen. Marco Rubio for privately saying one thing about the federal government spying on foreign leaders and publicly saying something completely different.
Breitbart News reported Wednesday that Rubio defended the National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying on Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a private conversation with Rep. Trey Gowdy away from reporters, even as he condemned the practice in an interview on Fox and Friends on the Fox News Channel.
Carson’s camp is not having it.
“What?! Doublespeak from a Washington politician? No way!! Rubio seems the perfect candidate for the political class and GOP establishment,” Carson campaign communications director Doug Watts told Breitbart News.
“Dr. Carson’s view? Israel is America’s friend and ally, first, last and always,” Watts added.
Rubio is under fire after Breitbart News heard Rubio talking to Gowdy Wednesday morning in a Pella, Iowa hotel about a Wall Street Journal article exposing the NSA’s monitoring of Netanyahu.
“We spy on everyone,” Rubio told Gowdy, defending the practice of spying on a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. “That’s the nature of intelligence.”
“It’s more complicated than the [WSJ] story makes it seem,” Rubio continued.
Gowdy replied that people are upset because the U.S. decided to stop spying on leaders of Germany and some other nations but still spies on Israel.
A Rubio campaign official later said that Breitbart News “either misheard or misunderstood” Rubio but repeatedly refused to deny that the conversation took place, verbatim, as reported by Breitbart News.
Rubio is the favored candidate of neoconservative donor Paul Singer and is fighting for the support of neoconservative donor Sheldon Adelson, who previously flirted with supporting Jeb Bush. Rubio’s public support for Israel could be damaged by the fallout from his private talk with Gowdy.