Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said at a press briefing on Thursday, "... On the Charles – on the Chas Freeman appointment, I am happy to say that looking around this room, there was pretty responsible reporting on Chas, but apparently you guys aren't bloggers, as – (laughter) – or you guys aren't as powerful bloggers as some that I discovered when I made the announcement. I thought he was a good pick, I still think he's a – still think he would have made a great National Intelligence Council Chairman, but it wasn't to be, and so we're – lesson learned, moving on....the deputy position is not filled yet. It's an extremely important one. There are a lot of candidates and a lot of considerations, so I'm sort of taking my time on that one, and want to get it right."
Blair was also asked, "I've also heard maybe there's some evidence that [Iran] restarted their military program, which the last NIE that we saw said that they had abandoned some years ago. What kind of movement is going on there...? Blair responded, "The 2007 [Iran] NIE is still roughly correct. I'd go back to that.
Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer, says in the Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Freeman's strongly held personal views proved to be his appointment's stumbling block. If Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence, believes that views such as those held by Mr. Freeman would help the intellectual mix at the NIC, then he should allow these views to be heard and argued in an open environment...The NIC's National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are often politicized and debased precisely because their anonymous authors need take no personal responsibility for their opinions...Let's put bylines on our 'National' Intelligence Estimates."