Asked by The Daily Beast about Paul using the palling-around-with-terrorists rumor to attack him, McCain huffed: “I can’t believe Rand is still repeating this stuff, which came from a Hezbollah newspaper in Lebanon! He’s getting his information from Hezbollah. It’s outrageous…I don’t know if Rand is dishonest or misinformed…I met with the Northern Storm and Gen. Idriss, who was the head of the Free Syrian Army. Most of the guys in that picture are dead now, killed by ISIS. It’s just ridiculous.”
It wasn’t just a Hezbollah newspaper in Lebanon. The lie was also printed by the liberal blog Wonkette, and a version of the lie—this one claiming the Free Syrian Army is working with ISIS—appeared on the conspiracy theory-friendly rag Infowars.com.
Mouaz Moustafa—executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which represents the moderate opposition in Washington—reiterated McCain’s point: “I’m incredibly surprised that a United States sitting senator is spreading a rumor that is completely baseless. It is very ironic that the biggest enemies of ISIS are being called ISIS by people who simply do not know the facts. When it comes from a United States senator, it is quite disturbing.”