It’s natural to feel relief over the demise of Chas Freeman’s appointment as National Intelligence Chairman. But this sentiment must be tempered by the knowledge that the man who selected Freeman, Dennis Blair, is our Director of National Intelligence. Indeed, that knowledge, coupled with Blair’s defense of Freeman, fully offsets the relief I otherwise would feel.
It may be the case that Blair did not know the extent to which Freeman is an apologist for the Red Chinese — key evidence on this was contained in emails that, as I understand it, were only recently disclosed. But it is impossible to believe that Blair was unaware of Freeman’s status as an apologist for Saudi interests and of his views about Israel and its supporters in the U.S. Freeman’s Saudi connections and his views on the Middle East were widely known.
Blair’s reaction once the evidence of Freeman’s views on China became public is also quite disheartening. As Ed Lasky explains, in a letter to Congress, Blair endorsed Freeman’s bogus defense that he (Freeman) did not defend the Tienanmen Square massacre, but instead only stated how China’s leaders viewed the situation. Freeman’s pompous locutions (e.g., “for myself, I side on this with” and “I thus share the hope of the majority in China” and “I await the brickbats of those who insist on a politically correct . . .view”) leave no doubt that he was providing his own assessment, not just the assessment of the Red Chinese.
Lasky shows that Blair’s letter to Congress was also deceptive in its discussion of Freeman’s ties to the Saudis. Specifically, Blair was misleading on the matter of the extent to which Saudi interests funded Freeman’s Middle East Policy Council.
While Blair clearly would have been delighted to have Freeman working with him, he is certainly capable of tilting our intelligence in favor of Saudi interests without assistance from his would-be side-kick. For the reasons stated above, this I think is what Blair intends to do.