Intel nominee Freeman drops out of running
Published: Tuesday March 10, 2009

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Retired diplomat Charles W. Freeman Jr. has put a halt to his nomination to chair the National Intelligence Council.

"Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed," read a statement from Blair's office. "Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freemanís decision with regret."

"Critics have seized on retired ambassador Charles 'Chas' Freeman's ties to Saudi Arabia and views on human rights in China to argue against his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), but Freeman's defenders charge that their real aim is to impose an ideological litmus test on top government officials and ensure a continued policy of reflexive US support for Israel," reported the Asia Times.

"Freeman has been an outspoken critic both of the Bush administration's 'global war on terror' and of Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories," said the paper. "In a 2007 speech, he denounced US support for 'Israel's efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations [and] seize ever more Arab land for its colonists,' and warned that Israel would soon face 'an unwelcome choice between a democratic society and a Jewish identity for their state.'"

Republicans on the Senate intelligence committee joined a chorus of pro-Israeli voices in Washington, D.C. seeking to torpedo the nomination out of concern with the former ambassador's views of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

"We abandoned the role of Middle East peacemaker to back Israel's efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations. We wring our hands while sitting on them as the Jewish state continues to seize ever more Arab land for its colonists," Freeman once wrote, according to ThinkProgress. "This has convinced most Palestinians that Israel cannot be appeased and is persuading increasing numbers of them that a two-state solution is infeasible."

"The outspoken Freeman was assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 1993 to 1994 and was U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia heading into and during the Persian Gulf War," reported the Washington Post. "In the 1980s, he was deputy chief of mission in Beijing and then Bangkok."

This story has been modified from an original version.

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