Friday, March 6, 2009

Another crappy Obama nomination

I was going to ask whether Barack Obama’s vetters had taken a vacation.

But that would presume that they ever actually showed up for work.

The latest nightmare Obama nomination? Charles Freeman, the White House pick “to serve as chairman of the group that prepares the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive assessments, according to three congressional aides.” He’s got a rather, um, colorful history of Israel-bashing, America-bashing views and glaring conflicts of interests due to his Saudi and Chinese ties. Yet, the White House has only now decided to vet his record.



Criticism of the pick is coming from all sides — Left and Right.

Frank Gaffney sums up this latest botch in four words: Garbage in, garbage out.

Epigram of this administration.

1 comment :

  1. Your tefilos were heard, he quit before the nomination could go forth:

    "U.S. official slams Israel 'lobby' after withdrawing from post

    By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters
    Last update - 11/03/2009

    Charles (Chas) Freeman, who was slated to be picked as the new chairman of the National Intelligence Council, slammed the Israel 'Lobby' Wednesday after withdrawing his candidacy for the post the previous day.

    "I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government," Freeman said in a statement to Foreign Policy.

    Freeman's withdrawal was announced in Washington by Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence. Since news of Freeman's nomination, Jewish organizations have leveled criticism at the pick due to his history of opposition to Israel's policies in the Palestinian territories.

    He added that, "The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues."

    Some lawmakers protested about remarks he made in the past on Israeli "oppression" of Palestinians, and about China.

    Freeman's withdrawal came just hours after Blair defended him in Congress as a man of "strong views, of an inventive mind and the analytical point of view."

    "I think I can do a better job if I'm getting strong analytical viewpoints to sort out and pass on to you and to the president than if I am getting pre-cooked pablum judgments that don't really challenge," Blair told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier on Tuesday.

    The intelligence council that Freeman had been picked to head prepares the formal assessments by U.S. intelligence agencies of major issues such as Iran's nuclear capability.

    The council also produced a controversial, and inaccurate, prewar assessment in 2002 that Iraq was continuing its weapons of mass destruction programs. Former President George W. Bush's main justification for the U.S.-led war he launched in 2003 was the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

    The National Intelligence Council position does not require Senate confirmation.

    But Freeman's past remarks on Israel and a comment seen as condoning China's Tiananmen Square crackdown, have stirred controversy. He is quoted as saying in 2007 that "The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending," and "American identification with Israel has become total."

    Freeman's professional ties had also come under scrutiny from critics. He had served on the board of the China National Offshore Oil Co. and as president of the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think tank funded at least in part by Saudi Arabia.

    Freeman is a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and assistant secretary of defense for international security. He was also a senior U.S. diplomat in China in the 1980s."


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