Charles “Chas” Freeman, the former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, withdrew his acceptance of the position of chairman of the National Intelligence Council, citing the media furor around his alleged anti-Israel views.
In a statement issued after he withdrew himself from consideration, Freeman attributed his decision to “the barrage of libelous distortions of my record” made by “unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country.” He made several references to the influence of the Israel Lobby, saying they veto the appointment of anyone who dispute their views and warning that they are “doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.”
In the past, Freeman warned that America’s unquestioning support of Israel “had the effect of universalizing anti-Americanism,” and warned that the US would face a “long-term escalation of terrorism” by people retaliating against Israel by targeting their American backers. He also made reference to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
The statements riled several top officials. Senator Charles Schumer declared Freeman was “the wrong guy for this position,” declaring “his statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration.”
Freeman was set to replace Dr. Thomas Fingar, who left the position at the National Intelligence Council in December. Dr. Fingar had likewise annoyed hawks by standing behind the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which seriously damaged the case for an attack.