I wrote last week about Chas Freeman, Obama’s atrocious pick for NIC head – a position which doesn’t require Senate confirmation. The pick was so bad that there are even loyal liberals like Marty Peretz and Jon Chait have expressed their strong disagreements with Obama’s choice.
An independent inspector general will look into the foreign financial ties of Chas W. Freeman Jr., the Obama administration’s pick to serve as chairman of the group that prepares the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive assessments, according to three congressional aides.
The director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, last Thursday named Mr. Freeman, a veteran former diplomat, to the chairmanship of the National Intelligence Council, known inside the government as the NIC. In that job, Mr. Freeman will have access to some of America’s most closely guarded secrets and be charged with overseeing the drafting of the consensus view of all 16 intelligence agencies.
His selection was praised by some who noted his articulateness and experience as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a senior envoy to China and other nations. But it sparked concerns among some members of Congress from both parties, who asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s inspector general, Edward McGuire, to investigate Mr. Freeman’s potential conflicts of interest.
Mr. Freeman has not submitted the financial disclosure forms required of all candidates for senior public positions, according to the general counsel’s office of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Nor did Mr. Blair seek the White House’s approval before he announced the appointment of Mr. Freeman, said Mr. Blair’s spokeswoman, Wendy Morigi.
“The director did not seek the White House’s approval,” Ms. Morigi said. “In addition to his formal background security investigation, we expect that the White House will undertake the typical vetting associated with senior administration assignments.”
Wasn’t he the WH’s pick in the first place??
Jennifer Rubin responds to the Washington Times report:
And it is becoming increasingly difficult for the administration’s apologists to maintain that this is all a right-wing, pro-Israel plot to get Freeman . We have voices as diverse as a former deputy chairman of the NIC ( “Can you imagine if I had stood up and explained away Tienanmen Square? He does not have the intellectual fire power to sort through the intelligence and reach a plausible conclusion”) and Human Rights Watch questioning the appointment.
All of this once again leads to the conclusion that there is chaos in the vetting apparatus of the Obama administration. How a position of this import could be filled without full consideration of the obvious policy and financial objections – and with the feigned or actual cluelessness of the White House — is quite simply shocking. And now that the administration has a full blown firestorm on its hands the question remains: how quickly will Freeman join Bill Richardson, Tom Daschle and the “performance czarina” under that proverbial bus?
And one final note: since nearly all of the MSM has been ignoring this story they are now in the uncomfortable position of trying to “catch up” their readers: “Well, there was this appointment, a raging debate, a dishonest denial of any awareness of the issue by the White House and congressional letters of protest — which, dear readers, we ignored — but now let us tell you about a serious vetting lapse in the intelligence community.” Once again, the mainstream media are revealed to have been carrying water for and masking the horrendous slip-ups of an administration which obviously warrants closer scrutiny.
Indeed. Clearly, this administration feels no accountability to anyone – and why should they, considering the mainstream media’s routine glowing press coverage and ignorance of serious issues within the admin?
Obama spox Robert Gibbs’ response on the controversy Tuesday when asked about it was unsatisfactory, and typical of the avoidance tactics the administration uses when wading into dicey waters.
Read related thoughts via James Kirchick at TNR.