Congress was formally notified today that theDirector of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, has selected Chas Freeman to head the National Intelligence Council. But the White House denied that the appointment is final. : Q & A 2/26/09 WH Briefing Q Robert, there are have been several reports that the President has settled on former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas Freeman, to head his National Intelligence Council. Mr. Freeman's organization took a million dollars from the Saudi government, and he later refers to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, saying, "Perhaps you should be called, King Abdullah the Great." Is this someone that has the kind of detachment necessary to assess intelligence for the U.S. government? MR. GIBBS: I've, on any number of occasions, said that I will talk about personnel announcements when we make personnel announcements, and we haven't done so in that.
A Democrat on the key Select Oversight Panel of the House Appropriations Committee, Steve Israel, asked the Inspector General for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to look into reports of the Saudi funding of the Middle East Policy Council, where Freeman served as president. The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post carried op eds opposing Freeman, while the Washington Note and TPM carried items attacking me for opposing Freeman.
Here is a statement from The Director of National Intelligence: The Director of National Intelligence has selected Charles W. Freeman, Jr. as the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The Chairman of the NIC will report to the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis (DDNYA) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). As Chairman of the NIC, Ambassador Freeman will be responsible for overseeing the production of National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) and other Intelligence Community analytical products, providing substantive counsel to the DNI and senior policymakers on issues of top national security importance, reaching out to nongovernmental experts in academia and the private sector to broaden the Intelligence Community's perspective, and articulating substantive intelligence priorities and procedures to guide intelligence collection and analysis.
Ambassador Freeman brings a diverse background in defense, diplomacy, and intelligence to this position having served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d'Affaires in Bangkok and Beijing, Director of Chinese Affairs at U.S. State Department, and Distinguished Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and the Institute for National Security Studies. He received his J.D. from the Harvard School of Law.