Obama Loses High-Level Intel Pick

Freeman, criticized as anti-Israel, withdraws from NIC post
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2009 7:26 PM CDT
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair lost his battle to save the appointment of Charles Freeman.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
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(Newser) – Relentless criticism has forced another of President Obama's high-level appointees to drop out, the Hill reports. Charles Freeman, in line to be head of the National Intelligence Council, drew strong opposition for perceived anti-Israel views and financial ties to Saudi and Chinese governments. Freeman dropped out just hours after his potential boss, national intelligence chief Dennis Blair, defended him before a Senate panel.

"I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office," wrote Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, lashing out at the "Israel lobby." Among other things, lawmakers raised a fuss over his role as president of the Middle East Policy Council, which gets money from the Saudi government.