Freeman Falling

Another One Bites the Dust.
The controversial appointee to chair President Barack Obama’s National Intelligence Council walked away from the job Tuesday as criticism on Capitol Hill escalated. Charles W. Freeman Jr., the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had been praised by allies and by the director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, as a brilliant, iconoclastic analyst. Critics said he was too hard on Israel and too soft on China, and blasted him for taking funding from Saudi royals. Freeman “requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed,” Blair’s office said in a statement. “Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.” The withdrawal came after Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) grilled Blair at a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing Tuesday. Lieberman cited his “concern” about “statements that [Freeman] has made that appear either to be inclined to lean against Israel or too much in favor of China.” In particular, Freeman has described “Israeli violence against Palestinians” as a key barrier to Mideast peace, and referred to violence in Tibet last year — widely seen in the U.S. as a revolt against Chinese occupation — as a “race riot.”