March 10th, 2009
06:17 PM ET
6 years ago

Freeman withdraws nomination as intel chief

(CNN) - Charles Freeman, the Obama administration's choice for National Intelligence Council chief, has withdrawn following controversy over his nomination.

The former Pentagon official and diplomat had faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee over his lack of intelligence experience, and some prior headline-grabbing remarks, particularly with regard to Israel. He also drew controversy over a statement that he believed the Chinese government did not crack down quickly enough on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananment Square in 1989.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair defended Freeman today on Capitol Hill, telling Sen. Joe Lieberman at a Senate hearing that Freeman's comments had been taken out of context. He also said he felt he would do a better job if he were "getting strong analytical viewpoints" like Freeman's to "sort out and pass on" to Congress and the president.


Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Chris from NY

    Can people just give this man (Obama) a break? It's my understanding that all the other President's nominations were confirmed by the day they took the oath of office. Six weeks after Obama took the oath of office Congress didn't still confirm all his nominations. It's beiginning to sound like racism to me.

    March 10, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Chris from NY

    Can people just give this man (Obama) a break? It's my understanding that all the other President's nominations were confirmed by the day they took the oath of office. Six weeks after Obama took the oath of office Congress didn't still confirm all his nominations. It's beiginning to sound a lot like racism to me.

    March 10, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Too True For You

    What, did he owe taxes or something?

    March 10, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Will Clemins

    It must have been true what the critics were saying about this nominee? I can't think of a single person Obama has nominated that has not been tainted at some level. Obama must not have known any decent people before he ran for office.

    March 10, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Merle

    LEMME GUESS.....TAXES!!! Oh that Obama...quite a character...lol!! (sigh, we miss you Hillary)

    March 10, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. former republican

    Who the HECK is responsible for the vetting process for the Obama Administration??? Whoever that is...needs to be fired! We need the entire administration to work together to get America back on its feet!

    March 10, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Michael

    I've read a fair amount about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (including all 800 pages of Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001), and I also have a personality that is open to seeing most situations from more than one perspective. While I have tremendous sympathy for the plight of the European Jews in the 20th century and am well aware of the horrors that have been witnessed inside Israel, I can't simply ignore the plight of the Palestinians. Historical grievances have weight, yet contemporary ones must outweight them. Balancing the competing needs to recognize how we've gotten to where we are and facing the realities of today is essential. I know I don't have the answer, but I'm confident it can't be found by only addressing the concerns of one of the two parties in conflict. In order for our nation to play a role in the Middle East process, we have to be willing to listen to both sides... and willing to ask tough questions.

    Freeman seemed like the kind of guy who can do that.

    March 10, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. Brian

    So much for a new era of integrity. Let me guess he owes back taxes?Another black eye for the Obama administration.

    March 10, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Matthew, Detroit

    Another Barack Failure.

    His arrogance and the arrogance of his white house staff are getting

    in his way.

    Everyday he looks more and more naive.

    Democrat Senate. Democrat House. Democrat President.

    All they have is excuses for their failures.

    March 10, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. ConsDemo

    This man told the truth about our counterproductive support of Israel and he is vilified. Who runs this country? Do we take orders from Israel? This disgraceful. Israel is not our 51st state and it is HIGH time we stop putting that country's interests before our own.

    March 10, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Jon in CA

    Tax cheat, no doubt.

    March 10, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. steve

    Money can you buy you anything in Washington. Congratulations must go out to Israel and its proxy lobby groups. Some people in our congress and politics needs to take loyalty tests.

    March 10, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. bill

    not another withdrawn nomination? Guess Obama still can't find an honest democrat!

    March 10, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Matthew, Detroit

    Obama Mama

    Yes it is a conspiracy.

    They guy is President. He has a Democrat Senate and a Democrat

    House. The Conspiracy is that you people thought he was smart.

    He is not smart. What he has proven is that he is an arrogant man.

    He picks people with poor backgounds and or shady skill sets, he

    then puts them in a position to fail and he expects NOT to be questioned.

    He chose a white house staff. He apparently made mistakes with that

    and it is reverberating through out his entire staff and choice of agents.

    He is truly learning on the job (even though everyone said he would not be). He does not know what to do next. Big mistake barack.

    March 10, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Tom

    FACT – Blair, the head of DNI, nominated Freeman without any approval or vetting done by the Obama administration.

    Even still, the right wing and the hard core conservatives tried to paint Freeman as some kind of anti-american because he wouldn't march lock-step with their neocon views of the world.

    You know, Israel is not just the Likud party... more people IN ISRAEL, voted for the Kadima party, which believe in a two-state solution.

    Somehow, critics of Freeman feel that America should not be in charge of it's own foreign policy and not beholden to Israel.

    Funny that.

    March 10, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Gary

    I don't get it, what was the controversy. Why would CNN do an article that is only 1 sentence? Why not explain the controversy. Sometimes I think CNN just doesn't want the Obama administration to look bad so they don't post these kind of details.

    How did Gietner get approved? How did Holder get approved? We need better nominees.

    March 10, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. republicans hate america

    if this were a republican president right now they would shove whomever they want down our throats no matter what their controversy. i say stop placating what the other side might think they are irrelevant

    March 10, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Chip

    It was apparent before the election that Obama is/was not qualified. Now we can see he is in way over his head.

    March 10, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. Rick V.

    2 thoughts: 1) Further confirmation of "Amateur Hour" at the White House; and 2) more buyer's remorse for the Democats. It coulda been Hillary, kids, but noooooo ... somebody wanted hope and change. Prospects of either continue to dim.

    March 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. ken

    And these are the same people saying Mccain couldn't properly vet someone? This brings the total up to what, 5 that have had issues in their past?

    March 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. steve

    Its not taxes people. Its Israel and its lobby groups who are responsible. They could not stand anybody who may not follow orders from them. How dare Freeman ever question Israel? They just vetoed a nomination. And this is supposed to be the United States.

    March 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. G

    Seriously am an Obama supporter but what is up with the vetting? Poor Obama the people who work for him aren't doing a good job, step it up guys!

    March 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Reading in So. Cal

    Is it Obama's fault that people chose not to pay taxes? Seems there are people on both sides of the aisle who have not paid taxes fully.

    I do agree that there is something in the vetting process that his staff is missing.

    March 10, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Dave

    This still can't touch the number of convicted felons who actually were IN the cabinet of Conservative Hero Ronald Reagan...so who is stupid and arrogant?

    March 10, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. closet republican

    Ok, this is getting ridiculous. Something is going on behind the scenes with this administration that the public just can't see....

    March 10, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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