Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.
Folks this is a great day for America. As I have said all along, Chas Freeman was a bad choice, he showed bad judgment in his dealings with Saudi Arabia, and bad judgment with China. The issue all along was “would he show the same bad judgment in interpreting/preparing intelligence reports ?”
Barry Rubin, Director of the GLORIA Center weighs in:
Why did the nomination fail? He had too much to hide. Much of the media and his supporters tried to pretend that the case against Charles Freeman Jr. being the key US intelligence analyst was that he was “anti-Israel.” That’s nonsense. Scores of people who fit that description have been nominated and put into high offices many times. The problem was that:
A. He was involved in business dealings with Saudi Arabia that can be called questionable.
B. The Middle East Policy Council which he managed produced some pretty extreme stuff.
C. Even former Secretary of State James Baker, hardly a pro-Israel activist, thought Freeman was an apologist for the Saudis.
D. He was very outspoken in supporting the Chinese government against democratic dissidents, including speaking approvingly of the violent repression and killing of peaceful oppositionists.
E. This was NOT a White House appointment. The Obama people had no obligation to him and saw the nomination as an embarrassment. They threw him under the bus, and this time rightly so. There is no doubt that Freeman is a very talented man who is very respected by his peers but he chose to do some things after retirement that just involved too many conflicts of interest and questionable judgment.
There was more, too, And obviously he pulled out lest more come out. (Only hours before it came out that his research center had received far more Saudi money than previously admitted by them.)
The president of the United States has many appointments to make. In the State Department for example this includes the secretary, deputy secretaries, undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries. I once calculated this at more than 120 though the number is probably greater now. The president also appoints ambassadors. It is the same in all cabinet departments. These appointments require Senate confirmation. But of course the officials he picks also appoint people under them. In this case, the director of central intelligence picked Freeman, a personal friend, to be the National Intelligence Council guy. The White House had no role in the decision and thus did not feel that Freeman was their man. One reason I thought all along the effort would succeed is that once Freeman became controversial the White House would say: What do we need this headache for. Indeed it did publicly state that Freeman was not their man. While he did not require Senate confirmation, members of Congress started asking questions and demanding an investigation. The White House agreed. At this point, Freeman had too much to hide, didn’t want it to come out; Blair saw it was embarrassing him, and the White House wanted to get rid of the whole problem. So Freeman wanted to quit and they wanted him to quit. He will now be portrayed in many circles as a great man who was a victim of evil forces (you know who). But in fact it was because there were so many problems with his actions.
[Note If you haven’t been to the GLORIA Center website yet you are doing yourself a disservice. It it loaded with great reading and information–Sammy]
Thank you Readers. Bloggers, everyone who picked up a phone, pen or keyboard. This shows the power of “regular Joes and Janes” to reach the media and members of Congress and to bring about Change. I am proud of you all. Thanks to everyone who called, blogged, etc. “Y’all did good–very good”