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More On New NIC Head’s Background

From Jake Tapper at ABC News:

White House Responds (Kind of) to Chas. Freeman Controversy

Jake Tapper

March 03, 2009

The White House today pleaded ignorance about some of the controversies surrounding its new chair of the National Intelligence Council, Charles "Chas." Freeman, president of the Middle East Policy Council since 1997.

Freeman was U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 until 1992, and the Middle East Policy Council is funded by the Saudi government.

Today a group of Congressmen, including Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote to President Obama expressing concern about Freeman.

"Given his close ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia we request a comprehensive review of Amb. Freeman’s past and current commercial, financial and contractual ties to the Kingdom to ensure no conflict of interest exists in his new position," the members of Congress wrote. "As you may know, Amb. Freeman most recently served as president of the Middle East Policy Council, a think-tank funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The board of directors includes Dr. Fuad Rihani, a consultant to the Saudi Binladin Group — a multinational construction conglomerate and holding company for the assets owned by the bind Laden family."

Other critics say Freeman is anti-Israel. Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY, recently asked the Inspector General for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to look into Freeman’s ties to the Saudis, noting that Freeman in 2006 said:

"For the past half decade, Israel has enjoyed carte blanche from the United States to experiment with any policy it favored to stabilize its relations with the Palestinians and its other Arab neighbors, including most recently its efforts to bomb Lebanon into peaceful coexistence with it and to smother Palestinian democracy in its cradle. The suspension of the independent exercise of American judgment about what best serves our interests as well as those of Israelis and Arabs has caused the Arabs to lose confidence in the United States as a peace partner. … left to its own devices, the Israeli establishment will make decisions that harm Israelis, threaten all associated with them, and enrage those who are not … Tragically, despite all the advantages and opportunities Israel has had over the fifty-nine years of its existence, it has failed to achieve concord and reconciliation with anyone in its region, still less to gain their admiration or affection."

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., has said that "Freeman’s past associations and positions on foreign policy are deeply alarming. His statements about the U.S.-Israel relationship raise serious concerns about his ability to support the Administration’s attempts to bring security, stability and peace to the Middle East. As director of the NIC, Freeman would be in charge of drafting the National Intelligence Estimate and evaluating the strategic outlook of our nation. This selection threatens to politicize the intelligence community. I urge President Obama to reconsider this decision." …

Perhaps most controversially, under Freeman’s direction, the Middle East Policy Council was the first outlet in the U.S. to publish the working paper of the controversial paper "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer and Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University Professor Stephen Walt. Many critics suggested the paper was shoddy academically and anti-Semitic, but Freeman was proud MEPC published it.

"No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it," he said.

Critics cite other issues with Freeman beyond the Middle East. Writing in Politico, New Republic editor James Kirchick recently reported that on May 26, 2006, Freeman sent an e-mail "to a confidential listserv called ChinaSec. The subject under discussion was the Tiananmen Square massacre, the 1989 Chinese government crackdown on peaceful democracy demonstrators. Sounding like a hard-line Chinese Communist Party flack, he referred to the young activists as constituting a ‘mob scene,’ termed their appeals for liberalization ‘propaganda,’ mocked the ‘goddess of democracy’ they had erected in honor of the Statue of Liberty and deemed the government’s response — which resulted in over 2,500 deaths — ‘overly cautious.’"

Is there anything that the Obama administration does not plead ignorance about?

Or, more accurately, demonstrate their ignorance?

It would have taken even the slowest among them less than a minute to Google Mr. Freeman and read his well known and highly suspect “views” and history.

Do they not care? Or is Mr. Freeman the kind of person they want in such a sensitive position?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “More On New NIC Head’s Background”

  1. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    More ‘recon by fire’ from the Obama adminsitration. They are well aware of this man’s background.

  2. Confucius says:

    “The White House today pleaded ignorance about some of the controversies surrounding its new chair of the National Intelligence Council, Charles “Chas.” Freeman . . . .”

    Of course, Obama is going to claim “ignorance.” What else is he going to say–“He’s not the ‘Chas’ I used to know.”?

    Even Mr. Change has to change.

    It’s just a shame he’s plagiarizing Hillary’s alibi. Sounds like a girl.

  3. proreason says:

    This wasn’t an oversight by the administration.

    They picked this nut on purpose. He aligns perfectly with numerous past statements of intent.

  4. artboyusa says:

    “I can no more disown Chas than I can disown my white grandmother…”

  5. Reality Bytes says:

    National Intelligence Council: Does Mel Brooks write this stuff? Come On! The freakin’ joint is a government agency. How smart can they be (military excepted of course).

  6. Liberals Demise says:

    Remember this….The NIC was chosen by the HNIC!!

    • caligirl9 says:

      When I read this comment for the first time, I wondered why Hockey Night in Canada (HNiC) had anything to do with American politics.
      Guess we’d be better off IF Hockey Night in Canada was involved in U.S. politics! LOL
      (I’ve been watching hockey news all day, which was the last day for player trades.)

  7. MinnesotaRush says:

    Oh my God!!!!

    “The White House today pleaded ignorance …”

    I’m crying I’m laughing so hard!!! Gotta chisel this in granite somwhere!!! This is rich!!!

    • MinnesotaRush says:


      I can’t take it! Now I see LD’s “chosen by the HNIC!!” …. my sides are killing me!!! ROFLMAO …. the “Head NIC” …. too funny!!!

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