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Freeman: Beyond the Pale

We wrote here and here about President Obama’s appointment of Saudi shill Charles Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council. Freeman’s loyalty to Saudi Arabia and his outside-the-mainstream views on the Middle East make him a strange choice for the post, to say the least. But now even more explosive information about Freeman has emerged.

Check out this April 2002 program in which Freeman participated, sponsored by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Freeman’s contributions included a tribute to the government of Saudi Arabia that began:

I urge anyone who has not done so to read the most profoundly self-reflective speech by a political leader that I have seen in the last quarter-century: Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah’s December 2001 address to the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Muscat.

Freeman went on:

Saudis and other Gulf Arabs were shocked by the level of ignorance and antipathy displayed by Americans toward them and toward Islam after September 11. The connection between Islam and suicide bombing is a false connection. Kamikaze pilots were not Muslims.

Freeman’s fealty to the Saudis was so striking that when it came time for questions from the audience, Michael Stein of the Washington Institute said:

It has been a long time since I read Alice in Wonderland, but I must say there has been a through-the-looking-glass quality to some of the things we have heard here. The Saudis have eliminated 5 percent of their educational material. What of the other 95 percent? What of the Saudi-financed madrassas that teach hatred of the West? I read the newspapers avidly, and I have yet to see a report from an objective journalist coming out of Saudi Arabia. By the way, I served in the navy in World War II; I seem to recall that even kamikaze pilots attacked military targets, not civilians. Perhaps I am not reading the program correctly; I wonder whether Ambassador Freeman was the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, or the Saudi ambassador to America. (Laughter.)

What was really shocking about Freeman’s comments, however, were his references to the September 11, 2001 attacks:

And what of America’s lack of introspection about September 11? Instead of asking what might have caused the attack, or questioning the propriety of the national response to it, there is an ugly mood of chauvinism. Before Americans call on others to examine themselves, we should examine ourselves.
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[I]t is very difficult for me as an American to go to the region and hear such high levels of skepticism about the facts of September 11. I have a lot of confidence, more confidence than Hassan, in our institutions, and I accept that al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden almost certainly perpetrated the September 11 attacks. Fifteen of the hijackers probably were recruited in Saudi Arabia. I accept that, but I can tell you, it is not accepted in the Arab region. The polls show that overwhelming numbers of people do not accept the official U.S. explanation of September 11.

I’m not sure whether Freeman’s approval requires Senate confirmation or not. If so, one would hope that Republican Senators will ask him whether he still believes the September 11 attacks should have been an occasion for self-examination to determine “what might have caused the attack,” and what “cause” he had in mind. Further, he should be asked whether it is still his view that al Qaeda “almost certainly” perpetrated the attack, what grounds for doubt he is aware of, and the identity of those, other than al Qaeda, whom he considers possible suspects.

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