Today John Hinderaker states the case: Charles Freeman: It’s Time To Go
We have written here, here and here about Barack Obama’s nomination of Charles Freeman, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to head the National Intelligence Council. Freeman’s nomination should be a non-starter. He is a paid publicist for the Saudi monarchy whose views, to the extent they can be identified independent of the Saudi party line, are outside the American mainstream. As Martin Kramer has shown, he has flip-flopped on such fundamental issues as the significance of the September 11 attacks by al Qaeda.
Kramer’s continuing research now adds this nugget: Freeman warned in 2002 against designating terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as enemies of the United States
I’m a very practical man, and my concern is simply this: that there are movements, like Hamas, like Hezbollah, that in recent decades have not done anything against the United States or Americans, even though the United States supports their enemy, Israel. By openly stating and taking action to make them–to declare that we are their enemy, we invite them to extend their operations in the United States or against Americans abroad. There’s an old adage which says you should pick your friends carefully. I would add: you should be even more careful when designating your enemies, lest they act in that manner.
As Kramer points out, this “preemptive cringe” proved unjustified, as no such “operations” have been forthcoming. Further, as Thomas Joscelyn notes, Hezbollah was involved in the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, just six years–not “decades”–before Freeman’s 2002 presentation.
Kramer doesn’t note this contribution by Freeman to the 2002 conference hosted by the Middle East Policy Council, but I think it is significant especially in light of the most recent Israeli election:
Jennifer Rubin asks,
First, how long can the rest of the mainstream media hold out without reporting on an embarrassing debacle for the Obama administration? This is the John Edwards story on steroids — a virtual conspiracy of silence with little if any journalistic justification. And here the issue is really important — the appointment of a key intelligence official who is alleged to harbor serious conflicts of interest and extreme views. I have made inquiry at two prominent, national newspapers about the lack of coverage and have received one “I’ll pass it on” from the ombudsman and only an automated response acknowledging receipt from the other. I wonder how mortified they’ll be if the story comes and goes, causing greater public controversy and embarrassment for the administration with nary a report from them.
Second, where are the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee. Does Diane Feinstein think Freeman is an acceptable pick? It is interesting to note how lacking in — what’s the word? ah yes — “oversight” the government is now that Congress and the White House are controlled by the same party. Imagine if George W. Bush had nominated someone whose earnings depended on the largess of the House of Saud or who advocated crushing Chinese dissidents — indeed faster than the Chinese government.
And finally, one has to wonder what’s going through the minds of the president and his top team. Is the Freeman choice the sort of “unpoliticized” advice they are looking for? One suspects eventually they will retreat. In the meantime, they have alienated former supporters who took their campaign promises seriously, put the Congressional Democrats in a tough spot and revealed themselves either to be horrendous vetters or lacking sound judgment. Or perhaps, if they prolong this, both.
Why is Freeman considered for the post at all?
Via Larwyn, Coming Soon: Chas Freeman — “This Is Not the Saudi Arabia I Knew …”