by James M. Wall
It is official: Ambassador Charles Freeman has been appointed chairman of the National Intelligence Council. The announcement came Thursday afternoon from the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis C. Blair.
From the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair has selected Charles W. Freeman, Jr. to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). As Chairman, Ambassador Freeman will be responsible for overseeing the production of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) and other Intelligence Community (IC) analytic products.
‘Ambassador Freeman is a distinguished public servant who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in defense, diplomacy and intelligence that are absolutely critical to understanding today’s threats and how to address them,’ Director Blair said. ‘The country is fortunate that Ambassador Freeman has agreed to return to public service and contribute his remarkable skills toward further strengthening the Intelligence Community’s analytical process.’
As a former United States negotiator, Freeman has worked with more than 100 foreign governments in East and South Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and both Western and Eastern Europe. He has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in Bangkok and Beijing, Director of Chinese Affairs at U.S. State Department, and Distinguished Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and the Institute of National Security Studies. Freeman received his J.D. from the Harvard School of Law. Ambassador Freeman will report to DNI Blair and the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis, Dr. Peter Lavoy.
The first report I received on the appointment came from Robert Dreyfuss’ blog for Nation magazine. Dreyfuss reproduced the announcement and then concludes:
The campaign against Freeman was both ignorant and unrelenting.
The Weekly Standard, which had quacked about the appointment finally surrended to it, aghast, but called it “a disgrace,” in a moronic article entitled “It’s Official: Saudi Puppet to Head NIC.”
It’s nice to win one, now and then.
The story was reported by bloggers like Robert Dreyfuss and Philip Weiss’ Mondoweiss, as a heated internal Jewish battle over the appointment, which it largely was.
The strongly anti-Freeman Israel Lobby was aligned against pro-Freeman Jewish progressives. Now it will be interesting to see how the MSM outlets report what is clearly a major defeat for the Israel Lobby.
The JTA, a conservative “Global News Service for the Jewish People” described Freeman as a “controversial former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia”. The conservative Washington Times, reported the opening paragraph of the official news release. It then devoted the rest of its story to rehashing distorted charges against Freeman for being “anti-Israel”.
Dreyfuss is right; it is good to win one from time to time. And lest we forget, this appointment, which was vigorously resisted by the Israel Lobby, was made under the presidency of Barack Obama.
Jimmy Carter, Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer, this one’s for you.