Senators Tom Coburn, Kit Bond, Saxby Chambliss, Richard Burr, Orrin Hatch, Olympia Snowe, and James Risch--all the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee-- are joining Chuck Schumer in opposing the Freeman nomination. They write: "Mr. Freeman has a distinguished résumé, but his intelligence experience appears to be only as a consumer of intelligence — in other words, using intelligence for policy making. We are unaware of another instance in which someone without years of intelligence analysis experience has been appointed to this position.
Also concerning — in light of the need for any NIC Chairman to have unquestioned objectivity and an ability to convey the Intelligence Community's judgments in a measured and non-provocative manner — are Mr. Freeman's highly controversial statements about China and Israel. While Mr. Freeman has since made efforts to clarify his remarks, one of the lessons of the 2007 Iran National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is that an essential quality in leading the NIC is an ability to ensure that NIEs and other NIC products clearly and accurately convey the views of the Intelligence Community when they are published. Once a product is released it is too late to try to clarify the Intelligence Community's judgments. At a time when the analytic community is continuing to struggle with reforming itself and when U.S. leaders, from the president to members of Congress, have called for a depoliticization of intelligence, we believe this appointment sends the wrong message. The NIC, as the highest intelligence entity providing top level analysis, must represent the clearest level of analytic expertise, an expertise the rest of the government and the public must be assured is free from policy bias. Given our concerns about Mr. Freeman's lack of experience and uncertainty about his objectivity, we intend to devote even more oversight scrutiny to the activities of the NIC under his leadership."
And Aaron Klein has fresh material on Freeman's questionable ties here. See also this unusual item by Ashley Rindsberg.