SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Aging legislator John McCain (R-Ariz.) stunned his family Monday when he revealed in a Twitter post that he had crossed the border into war-ravaged Syria where he met with rebels who are fighting to overthrow the tyrannical regime of Bashar Hafez al-Assad, the country's dictator. McCain's daughter, Meghan, admitted that she learned of her father's whereabouts only after discovering his tweet. She posted in response: "Nothing quite like finding out via twitter that my father secretly snuck into Syria and met with rebel leaders." The 76-year-old senator appeared dazed and incoherent when asked how he wound up more than 7,000 miles from Arizona, but indicated that he had been searching for one of his many homes, the exact number and locations of which he famously can't remember.
According to government sources, Sen. McCain remained in Syria for several hours, meeting with opposition leaders who requested weapons and provided intelligence on Assad's use of chemical weapons to suppress protesters and political dissidents. McCain is the most senior U.S. official to visit the country -- torn apart by a vicious civil war -- since the conflict began.
"These people seemed to be asking me for guns," McCain told personnel at the British Embassy in Syria. "And I couldn't figure out what they had done with theirs. I mean, it's mandatory to carry guns in Arizona now. They could be arrested for saying things like that in public."
McCain also demanded that security forces check the rebels for proof of U.S. citizenship or valid visas.
"There is a very tough immigration policy in this state, and these guys were clearly not American," McCain explained. "You didn't need to employ any amount of racial profiling to be suspicious. The dark skin, the funny attire. And they understood no English whatsoever. It wasn't even Spanish. I couldn't tell what the hell language they were speaking. Under Arizona law, their papers should've been checked. DHS should've been there to start deportation procedures."
After British officials tried to explain to Sen. McCain that he was no longer in the United States, he became apprehensive and taciturn.
In 2008, during an interview with Politico, John McCain said he was "uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy own."
"I think -- I'll have my staff get to you," McCain added. "It's condominiums where -- I'll have them get to you."
By the most reliable estimates available from government accountability groups, the senator owns a combination of 10 homes, ranches, condos and lofts, worth nearly $14 million in sum.
Since the embarrassing exchange, family members say McCain has been on a quest to discover just how many properties he holds and where they might be.
"There are just too many homes to keep track of," an aide told reporters. "We think the senator received a tip that one of buildings may have been located in Tusayan. It's possible that Sen. McCain confused Tusayan with a similarly named city in Turkey, which led him to Syria. We're just glad he's safe. It's happened before, his wandering off and ending up in another country."
But U.S. officials call the story a happy accident with an unexpected bonus: McCain will be bringing back a treasure trove of vital information about Assad's tactics, plans and the rebel situation in Syria.
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