HuffPo: Fred thinks Hezbollah is based in Afghanistan?

Intriguing. An outright lie to make him sound stupid or a semi-honest misunderstanding of a more complicated point he was trying to make? You make the call!

Former senator Fred Thompson continues to be his own worst enemy on the path to the White House. Thompson’s appearance last weekend at the annual conference hosted by Teddy Forstmann in Aspen was “embarrassing,” several attendees have told the Huffington Post, as he botched current events questions and suffered from verbal gaffes.

Amid a gathering of high-profile media, business, and government figures, Thompson made the strange claim that the Islamic group Hezbollah is in Afghanistan (it’s based and run out of Lebanon).

Fred was indeed at the Forstmann conference but could he really be so ignorant as to think Hezbollah is based in Sunni nutjob country? I googled around and couldn’t find any statements from him referring explicitly to where the group is located but he does mention in passing in this radio commentary that they were responsible for the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers that instigated the war last summer. Assuming he remembers in which country that war was fought and isn’t under the impression that Hezbollah was vacationing there at the time, I think it’s safe to say he knows where they’re based.

Could HuffPo’s source have simply misunderstood him? Here’s a report from three months ago about Iranian EFPs of the type used by Hezbollah being sent to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The U.S. also caught a top Hezbollah bombmaker in Iraq earlier this summer, a fact to which Petraeus alluded during his testimony a few weeks ago. Fred might have made some offhand comment about cross-pollination of terror technology and personnel via the conduit of Iran and speculated that Hezbollah might be lending a hand somehow in Afghanistan. Not all that likely but not exactly out of left field either.

Exit question: Smear or mistake?

Update: Commenter JiangxiDad finds the smoking gun.

Thompson said military action is not “the first thing that ought to be thrown out for consideration.” But, he later added, “ultimately you cannot take the military option off the table. You’re dealing with a country where terrorism and state sponsorship go hand in hand. They’re responsible for many of the activities of Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Taliban now in Afghanistan… not to mention what they’re doing in Iraq.”