March 10th, 2009
06:17 PM ET
14 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(CNN) - Charles Freeman, the Obama administration's choice for National Intelligence Council chief, has withdrawn following controversy over his nomination.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. vinylrage

    "Unfortunately for Mr Freeman he committed the biggest sin of all: vocally expressing a belief that we may need to re-examine how we deal with Israel and Palestine."

    you may be right.

    March 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Matthew, Detroit


    Again another dummy who does not know anything about the issue.

    The guy is 1 a lobbyist who took money.
    The guy is 2 someone who has NO intelligence experience. He should not have been nominated for the position.
    The guy is 3 someone who said the CHINESE DID NOT come down hard enough or fast enough on protesters for democracy in T-Square.

    So he is someone that does not even DEFEND DEMOCRACY. Are you kidding me. The guy was a terrible choice.

    Barack screwed up again.

    March 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Tony L.

    @Matthew, Detroit: You have no idea what you are talking about. Sounds to me like you just don't want him there no matter if you what you're saying is true or not. Grow up. This man has accomplished in 50 days than you will accomplish in your whole life! Sit back and shut up for the next 4 years!

    March 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Virginia

    Hillary said it all when she called Obama an empty shirt.True but it must have been a slip of the tongue on her part .Maybe it is just hard to find a honest person in his circle of friends?

    March 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Lilly P

    This has nothing to do with taxes. Learn the facts before you comment. Freeman's decision has nothing to do with Obama and has everything to do with AIPAC's influence on the gov't. His withdrawal means that Isreal will continue to dictate US Foreign Policy. You can thank Bush's leftover neocons for that.

    March 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. rachel

    This is sad. I wish people would accept the nominations unless they are sure they want it and the guts to withstand criticisim and stop buckling under pressure.

    March 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Andy

    Pes. Bush had the same approval ratings at this exact time in admin. When people wake up and realize Obama is nothing new and his polices are nothing new, his approval rating will head south..

    March 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Hispanic in Dallas, TX

    Good, just like the rest of the tax issues!

    March 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Pat F

    Hey, all you ant-Semites! This isn't about Israel – get your head out of your you-know-what!

    It's about China! This guy is such a beast that he thinks that China didn't smash the Tienanmen Square protests fast enough!

    That will tell you something about people who favor Saudi Arabia (repressive, woman hating terrorist theocracy) over Israel (liberal and lively democracy).

    March 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. rachel

    I meant to say would not accept the nominations.

    March 10, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Tony L.

    To Gene Hubbard: He the right man for the right job! You're right this country definitely deserves him.

    March 10, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. The Real Issue

    Some people will make it through and some will not. That's why you have the process. It's similar to an interview. If Lieberman had something, he did exactly what he was suppose to, speak up. The President made a nomination and if the candidates cannot get approved, then that's it. Vetting is not 100% safe. The President is doing a great job!!! There will be another person appointed or the position will be eliminated. And that's the Real Issue!!!!

    March 10, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. bitter_in_pa

    Should've checked with Wolfowitz and Company first.

    March 10, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. NICK

    It would be nice to know the reason for his withdrawal,rather than have all yhese comments that may not be applicable to the issue.
    Bad job CNN.

    March 10, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Damien

    Considering how crooked all these politics are, I'd be willing to let someone with back due taxes, "oh my!" perform over someone who does their dealings behind the big curtain. I'm not saying these people are good choices on Barack's part, but frankly maybe he is hitting the potholes in order to miss the landmines. Most of the really crooked stuff stays under wraps. Throwing stones is not Christian, and seeing and listening to everyone in America bicker about stupid crap leads me to believe that our problems are a result of the lack of "Christianity" in whatever form.

    March 10, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. Griff............... on The Truth...

    Is it not about now? When most snakes shed their skin?
    Nyoka Obama!

    March 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. WeThePeopleOfVA

    Just think about it . . . these were the same people that worked to get this guy elected. Whatever virtues Obama brings to the job, his people appear to be morally bankrupt.

    March 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Tony L.

    @Vickie: I know of no one who has experience running a country or being president at the time they campaign. We vote for them based on their ideas, philosophy, and ability to lead. Barack Obama got the check for all of these. You can't compare running an organization like the CIA to running a country.

    March 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. Tim from WI

    "OK, this is getting ridiculous. Something is going on behind the scenes with this administration that the public just can't seeā€¦."

    You might be right.
    You might be wrong.

    Too bad we might never know because the press of the 21st century is too busy taking sides and commenting on the news they have no time or desire to investigate those in power anymore (unless they disagree with them)
    Seems in this century the press are more involved in SHAPING the news.
    They take sides.
    We all loose.

    You know Americans.

    Both on the right and the left.

    Seems that Pres Obama and this administration is well on its way (with most of the presses help) as being a historic president. The most divisive president of all time.
    He could bring us together but it benefits him and his party too much to keep the left and the right fighting and keeping us a nation divided.


    You have the ability. You could do it.

    You won't even try, will you?

    God help us all

    March 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. paul

    Lets face it...Its Israel thats got all the neocon and zionists angry.

    AIPAC and other Israel lobby groups just has too much power and money in washington.

    They stopped Freeman because he was a pragmatic peron. That upsetted the Israel crowd in congress. America last but Israel always First!

    March 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Independent chicago man age 25

    To Merle: hillary prob would have nominated the same people

    March 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. The One

    Another one bites the dust. So much for the vaunted Obama vetting process.

    March 10, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Pee Wee

    Gotta love the blame it's the "noe-con" litmus test.

    And all the while I thought the Dems controlled Congress. News flash, Joe Lieberman is not a Republican.

    March 10, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Marc in Virginia

    Don't blame me, I voted for Hillary and then McCain.

    March 10, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Dan, TX

    The stock market rose by a huge amount today. Must be because Wall Street likes Obama's economic plan.

    Or, is it only if the stock market goes down that we count it as a reflection on Obama rather than the economy?

    March 10, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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