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Washington Post Reporter Eli Lake is Reporting that An independent inspector general will look into the foreign financial ties of Chas W. Freeman Jr., the Obama administration’s pick to serve as chairman of the group that prepares the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive assessments.

According to Lake three different congressional aides have confirmed that Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s inspector general, Edward McGuire will look into Mr. Freeman’s potential conflicts of interest.

 Lindsay Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from New York who sits on the House Appropriations Committee’s select intelligence oversight panel that funds the classified budgets for the intelligence community, said her boss had been in touch with Mr. McGuire, who was appointed by the first director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte.

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“Congressman Israel spoke with DNI inspector McGuire. The inspector said he would look into the matter. And the congressman is pleased with his response.” Two other congressional aides also said the inspector general would start his inquiries soon.

Lake found out that the inquiry will not only cover Freeman’s Saudi Connections, many of which were first revealed on this site (here and here), but also the the revelation first discovered by Aaron Klein of WND; that Chas Freeman was on the board of a Chinese oil company that might have violated American sanctions against trading with Iran.

Topping the list of concerns will be Mr. Freeman’s links to CNOOC. He joined the board of international advisers for the Chinese concern in March 2004, one year before the company made an unsuccessful bid to purchase the American energy company Unocal. Since then, CNOOC has been a source of worry for lawmakers from both parties as well as the Treasury Department as it looks to discourage oil field investment in Iran.

The State Department looked into whether CNOOC violated the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act at the end of 2007 when the company announced a deal to help develop the North Pars gas field.

President Obama has supported sanctions against businesses investing in Iran. In August, his campaign put out a press release titled: “What McCain Won’t Tell You About Iran,” highlighting the lobbying work for CNOOC by Charlie Black, a strategist for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

“CNOOC is among those companies that appears to be capitalizing on the U.S.-led effort to isolate Iran economically, particularly in the energy sector,” said Roger Robinson, the president and chief executive officer of Conflict Securities Advisory Group, a Washington-based risk management company that specializes in identifying and profiling public companies with business ties to states accused of sponsoring terrorism.

Mr. Freeman’s connection to CNOOC could oblige him to recuse himself from some matters regarding China as well as Myanmar. In October 2007, CNOOC’s chief financial officer publicly refused to divest from that country a month after army soldiers opened fire on a crowd protesting the ruling junta, suggesting instead that CNOOC would increase its investments.

To read the full Eli Lake article click here

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