WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Ben Carson's presidential campaign admitted on Friday he lied about his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
In Carson's book, Gifted Hands, he writes that in 1969, when he was 17 years old, he met with Gen. William Westmoreland, who just ended commanding U.S. forces in Vietnam. Carson said they dined together and the meeting led to a "full scholarship" into the military academy.
But West Point has no record of Carson applying or being admitted.
"In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army adjutant general," Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy, told POLITICO, adding that the academy has no records indicating Carson ever began the application process.
"If he chose to pursue (the application process) then we would have records indicating such," Brinkerhoff said.
Responding to POLITICO, Barry Bennett, Carson's campaign manager, confirmed Carson did not seek admission at West Point.
"Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit," Bennett wrote in an email to POLITICO. "In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can't remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson's performance as ROTC city executive officer."
Carson recently became the Republican front-runner in the race for the presidential election nomination. Carson is polling with 24.8 percent of support ahead of real estate mogul and celebrity television personality Donald Trump's 24.6 percent, according to poll averages by RealClearPolitics.
"He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC supervisors," Bennett went on. "They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission."
The revelation could be the breaking point of Carson's campaign for president, which has seen support from Evangelical Christian voters, Fortune reported. His lies about a military association may disgruntle such voters, who are often seen as intensely patriotic.
The controversy came as Carson criticized CNN for a report on his troubled past, calling it a "bunch of lies." Childhood friends of Carson's told CNN he lied about having a violent childhood, something he says he overcame through religion.
"This is a bunch of lies attempting to say I'm lying about my history," he told CNN Friday. "I think it's pathetic, and basically what they media does is try to get you distracted."