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Max Blumenthal: Who's Behind the War on Obama's Intelligence Pick

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laststeamtrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 12:49 PM
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Max Blumenthal: Who's Behind the War on Obama's Intelligence Pick
Who's Behind the War on Obama's Intelligence Pick

by Max Blumenthal

No presidential appointment has brought more controversy than that of Charles Chas Freeman, whom Obama tapped to head the National Intelligence Council. Leading the charge against Freeman is Steven Rosen, a former director of AIPAC awaiting trial on espionage charges, who has a long history of attacking and undermining anybody he deems hostile to Israel.

The assault on Charles Chas Freeman Jr., a former ambassador tapped to lead the National Intelligence Council, is the first blow in a battle over the Obama administrations Middle East policy. Steven Rosen, a former director of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee due to stand trial this April for espionage for Israel, is the leader of the campaign against Freemans appointment. In his wake, a host of critics from the Atlantics Jeffrey Goldberg to the New Republics Marty Peretz have emerged to assail Freemans comments on Israeli policies and demand that Obama rescind the diplomats appointment. The campaign against Freeman spread to Congress, where a handful of representatives including the top recipient of AIPAC donations, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), called for an investigation of Freemans business ties to China and Saudi Arabia.

But it was Rosen who first publicly accused Freeman of unholy ties to foreign governments and Rosen who first attacked Freemans relatively benign statements about the Israeli occupation. His tactics follow a familiar pattern he has displayed throughout his career, in which he viciously undermined anyone in the foreign-policy community deemed insufficiently deferential to Israeleven his own boss. But with Rosens indictment for spying for a foreign government, his attacks are resonating less strongly than in the past.

Whats so strange is that the face of the campaign against Freeman is Steve Rosen, and he is the weakest possible face, said M.J. Rosenberg, a former colleague of Rosens at AIPAC who now serves as policy director for the Israel Policy Forum. You couldnt have picked anyone less credible to lead the charge.

The effort to dislodge Freeman still has the potential to impact the Obama administrations policies toward Israel, however discredited its architect may be. This is, of course, the underlying objective of many of Freemans critics. Freeman is stuck in the latest instance of the deadly power game long played here on what level of support for controversial Israeli government policies is a requirement for US public office foreign-policy analyst Chris Nelson wrote in his Nelson Report, an influential private daily newsletter read by Washington policy makers. If Obama surrenders to the critics and orders to rescind the Freeman appointment to chair the NIC, it is difficult to see how he can properly exercise leverage, when needed, in his conduct of policy in the Middle East. That, literally, is how the experts see the stakes of the fight now under way.

The Israeli lobbys mounting frustration with the intelligence community suggests another reason for its opposition to Freeman. As NIC director, Freeman would oversee the production of National Intelligence Estimates, the consensus judgment of all 16 intelligence agenciesessentially the official analysis of the U.S. government on global realities. When the December 2007 NIE found that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear-weapons program, and that Iran was less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005, advocates for a preemptive U.S. strike on Irans nuclear facilities reacted with anger and dismay. Neoconservative scholar Daniel PipesRosens new boss at the Middle East Forumdecried the NIE as a shoddy, politicized, outrageous parody of a piece of propaganda.

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MinneapolisMatt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 03:57 PM
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1. Well, Freeman just withdrew his name from consideration, per CNN.
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classysassy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-11-09 03:59 PM
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is doing more to harm the relationship between the average American citizen and Israel than any other group.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-11-09 04:43 PM
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3. Check out this thread: Juan Cole: Did Schumer and Emanuel Sink Freeman?
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