Former Saudi Ambassador Charles Freeman said he was throwing himself under the bus, as a form of protest against the nefarious domination of American foreign policy by the International Zionist Conspiracy.
Charles W. Freeman Jr. withdrew yesterday from his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council after questions about his impartiality were raised among members of Congress and with White House officials.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said he accepted Freeman’s decision “with great regret.” The withdrawal came hours after Blair had given a spirited defense on Capitol Hill of the outspoken former ambassador.
Freeman had come under fire for statements he had made about Israeli policies and for his past connections to Saudi and Chinese interests. …
In an e-mail sent to friends yesterday evening, Freeman said he had concluded the attacks on him would not end once he was in office and that he did not believe the NIC “could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack.” He wrote that those who questioned his background employed “selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record . . . and an utter disregard for the truth.”
Such attacks, he said, “will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues.” And he said he regretted that his withdrawal may cause others to doubt the administration’s latitude in such matters.
But, as Greg Sargent reports, Chuck Schumer is trying to take credit for pushing him.
Andrew Sullivan finds the process interesting. The debate was in the blogs, not the MSM.
There are a couple of things worth noting about this minor, yet major, Washington spat. The first is that the MSM has barely covered it as a news story, and the entire debate occurred in the blogosphere. I don’t know why. But that would be a very useful line of inquiry for a media journalist.
The second is that Obama may bring change in many areas, but there is no possibility of change on the Israel-Palestine question. Having the kind of debate in America that they have in Israel, let alone Europe, on the way ahead in the Middle East is simply forbidden. Even if a president wants to have differing sources of advice on many questions, the Congress will prevent any actual, genuinely open debate on Israel. More to the point: the Obama peeps never defended Freeman. They were too scared. The fact that Obama blinked means no one else in Washington will ever dare to go through the hazing that Freeman endured. And so the chilling effect is as real as it is deliberate.
Our own original 2/26 posting was one of the earliest.