March 16th, 2009

Chris Keeley

Competing Accounts About a Diplomat

Competing Accounts About a Diplomat

Monday, March 16, 2009; A16

 

The Post's March 12 edition made for fascinating reading on the subject of Charles W. Freeman Jr.'s having withdrawn his nomination to head the National Intelligence Council.

The lead editorial ["Blame the 'Lobby' "] dismissed his portrayal of efforts by the "Lobby" to control the discussion of Israeli-Palestinian issues as a conspiracy theory and "crackpot" tirade, thus proving he was a bad candidate for the job. But on Page 1 and the op-ed page, staff writer Walter Pincus ["Intelligence Pick Blames 'Israel Lobby' for Withdrawal"] and columnist David S. Broder ["The Country's Loss"] detailed exactly how the disparate elements of the "Lobby" that doesn't exist worked to derail the nomination. So who's right?

As a former Foreign Service couple who know Mr. Freeman -- by reputation and his observations over the years in person and in print -- to be one of the smartest, most objective and most honest products of the U.S. diplomatic establishment, we will go with Mr. Pincus and Mr. Broder. We also trust that Post readers who research these issues carefully and objectively will come to the same conclusion.

 

ALBERT and PARVIN FAIRCHILD

 

Bethesda


Chris Keeley

Is the Israel Lobby Running Scared?

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175046/robert_dreyfuss_the_freeman_affair

Is the Israel Lobby Running Scared?

Or Killing a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys
 

By Robert Dreyfuss

 

Is the Israel lobby in Washington an all-powerful force? Or is it, perhaps, running scared?

Judging by the outcome of the Charles W. ("Chas") Freeman affair this week, it might seem as if the Israeli lobby is fearsome indeed. Seen more broadly, however, the controversy over Freeman could be the Israel lobby's Waterloo.

Let's recap. On February 19th, Laura Rozen reported at ForeignPolicy.com that Freeman had been selected by Admiral Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, to serve in a key post as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC, the official in-house think tank of the intelligence community, takes input from 16 intelligence agencies and produces what are called "national intelligence estimates" on crucial topics of the day as guidance for Washington policymakers. For that job, Freeman boasted a stellar resumé: fluent in Mandarin Chinese, widely experienced in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, and an ex-assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration.

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