The New York Times at nytimes.com: "General Tlass was the son of another general, Mustafa Tlass, who was a close confidante of President Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president."
The elder General Tlass was presumably a man, and therefore a confidant. Confidante is the feminine form of the word.
There are, in fact, two errors involved here, because a confidant/confidante is by definition a close, trusted friend or companion. Close confidant is a pleonasm.