Charles Freeman, who was President Barack Obama’s pick to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council, is blaming a so-called “Israel lobby” for orchestrating strong online opposition to his appointment. Freeman was criticized for his connections to the Saudi-funded Middle East Policy Council, past statements critical of Israel, and his perceived leniency on the Chinese government’s repression of political dissent.
Freeman released a statement Tuesday after taking himself out of the running:
I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country.
The National Intelligence Council advises the President and the Director of National Intelligence on mid- and long-term strategy.