Frances Fragos Townsend spent five years as George W. Bush's key advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism. She's currently a national security correspondent for CNN. And she can't tell the difference between actual news and a joke by the military's answer to The Onion.

Townsend, an attorney-cum-intelligence expert who spent much of her time in the White House flacking for rendition, torture, and the enemies of our enemies, fell for a gag post this morning by Duffel Blog, a military-focused satire site that's popular with veterans and Gawker writers.

The satirical post in question wrote that retired Marine Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis had been tapped to run a fictional humanitarian outfit called "Soldiers Without Borders."

Mattis, who's roundly admired by Marines for his gallows humor and pugnacious leadership, gained popular fame for quotes like "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling," and his soberer message to the Iraqi people after the invasion: "I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all."

Needless to say, conservatives love the ex-warrior, as evinced by Townsend's retweet of the Duffel Blog post and her added tribute. Several followers pointed out the error:

In fairness to the patriotic war-on-terror architect and longtime U.S. intelligence expert, you don't know what you don't know.

[h/t @TadKosciusko]