THE TRIALS OF CHAS FREEMAN:
The Zionist lobby roared–and President
That’s the story, in a nutshell, of the lobby’s successful campaign against the appointment of
Charles W. “Chas” Freeman Jr.
as chair of the
National Intelligence Council
. Brilliant, iconoclastic and outspoken, Freeman boasts a long and distinguished record in national security, including service as former ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War and as assistant secretary of defense during the Clinton administration. In February Admiral
, the director of national intelligence–a long-time friend of Freeman’s–chose him to head the NIC, where Freeman would have been the top analyst responsible for overseeing the production of national intelligence estimates (NIEs), among other things. Often controversial–recall the catastrophically wrong 2002 NIE on Iraq’s (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction–the NIEs distill the work of sixteen spy agencies into a (they hope) coherent whole that provides guidance for policy-makers.
Freeman is not afraid to take controversial positions. He strongly opposed the war in Iraq, has spoken out against attacking Iran and supports talking to the Taliban. But his cardinal sin, according to the Zionist lobby and its neocon allies, is that he spoke out against Israeli excesses. “The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending,” he said in a speech in 2007. “American identification with Israel has become total.”
The coordinated assault against Freeman started in right-wing blogs, led by
‘s “Obama Mideast Monitor,” on a site led by
of the American Enterprise Institute and a handful of others. Within days, the attack spread to the Weekly Standard,National Review and
‘s New Republic, and then to op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, which published a particularly scurrilous piece by
, who called Freeman a “fanatic.” Backed by furious behind-the-scenes lobbying, it triggered demands for inquiries from members of Congress. Leading the pack were Republicans
, seven GOP members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and some leading Democrats, including
of New York.
On March 10, Freeman withdrew. “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth,” he said.
Nearly four years ago, I interviewed Freeman about the disastrous appointment of
as CIA director, an effort by President Bush to install a political watchdog over an agency that is supposed to speak truth to power. Goss was sent to Langley to “impose a vision on [the CIA] that its analysts and operatives reject as simply not based on reality,” Freeman told me. “It’s totalitarian. We are going to end up with an agency that is more right-wing, more conformist and less prone to produce people with original views and dissenters.”