Newsmax has learned that Charles “Chas” Freeman has decided not to accept appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
Freeman did not show up at a scheduled hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday, and National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair has accepted his decision not to proceed with assuming the post.
Freeman "has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret," Blair's office said in a statement.
Freeman’s appointment was highly controversial. As Newsmax’s Insider Report disclosed, he is a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia who has staunchly supported anti-Israel views and has had close business ties with both China and the Saudis — including the bin Laden family.
"This is yet another breakdown in the Obama administration vetting process — one more in a long series of missteps," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, in a statement. "More fundamentally, on an intelligence matter, it calls into question the essential judgments being made."
Hoekstra said Freeman's decision to withdraw was the right call.
"Mr. Freeman’s selection as chairman of the council was a poor choice from the beginning," Hoekstra said. "Given his financial dealings with a Chinese state-run oil company and the backing of his think tank by the government of Saudi Arabia, it raises serious questions about the vetting that was done by the administration. Mr. Freeman’s extensive record of questionable public statements, including those that seemed to defend the Tiananmen Square massacre and raise questions about the American character following the 9-11 attacks, should have been more than enough to give the administration pause."
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia called Freeman’s past associations and positions on foreign policy “deeply alarming.”
And Frank J. Gaffney Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, called Freeman “a man with strong and profoundly troubling views.”
He wrote before Freeman dropped out: “At the end of the day, it should be clear to members on both sides of the aisle that, while Chas Freeman is a smooth-talking, clever and even brainy man, he is unfit for the job to which he has been appointed.”
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