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(CNN) - Charles Freeman, the Obama administration's choice for National Intelligence Council chief, has withdrawn following controversy over his nomination.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

    Screw Israel. They're behavior towards the Palestinian people in Gaza is abhorrent and it's way past time for us to start living up to our claims of being a nation that defends liberty, equality, democracy, etc., and tell Israel enough is enough. Stop stealing their land. Stop killing their people. End your apartheid. Give them the right to vote or let them be their own country...there is NO in-between. Our aid to Israel shoudl stop until they should the stream of weapons we send them, which they turn around and use in a grossly excessive manner in response to homeade rockets that have an overwhelming chance of hitting absolutelly nobody. we complain that 5,000 of our troops have died in 7 years in Iraq. Israel killed 1,000 of that many Palestinians in 7 days...yet we applaud? Shame.

    March 10, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    Good...this gut was a pig.

    Do over.

    Try again....amatuer.

    March 10, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. EBC

    WHY don't these appointees step up on day one, if they KNOW they have issues that will affect their appointment, they should have DECLINED the appointment before it became official. WHY are they wasting the White House's time with this BS??

    I mean this is getting pretty foolish. If YOU know you have something in your background or you have a "criminal record", don't you think you should REFUSE the position outright and NOT wait to be officially appointed by the President?

    I don't blame President Obama, he CAN NOT read these people's minds, nor can he "baby-sit" a bunch of grown ups who should know better. Both the White House and the appointee KNOW the vetting process and yet this fools remain "mum" about their backgrounds.

    With the job market in the toilets, you would think these self-fish folks who are being OFFERED a job, don't have the balls to speak up about their backgrounds!!! Hell, if they DON'T WANT THE JOB, give it to the NEXT PERSON in line who DOES want the job!!!!

    March 10, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. josh

    Another great pick from Jesus, i mean Obama. The whole country will soon see what a phony this guy really is.

    March 10, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. rorsharch

    Again, seems like the one elected is able to nothing but campaign. Then they have the gall to look into the faces of the war broken and say "pay us" and we will say to them "no"

    March 10, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. mike

    O-Blame-O is in WAY over his head.

    March 10, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Fx

    "Tiananment" Square? Come on, CNN, show some integrity as journalists... did an intern write this? What's next, Czechoslovakia?

    March 10, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. LAW

    So how's this hope and change thing working out?

    March 10, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. Dennis

    Chasman, well said. The 25 jobs saved in Ohio are probably the only jobs that will be saved or created by the stimulus. With a total stimulus spend of $ 700 billion, that works out to a low cost of only $ 28 billion per job. How's that for efficiency!

    March 10, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. Paul from Kissimmee

    Does Obama just not know people with integrity? Everyone he knows or nominates has something very bad in their closet. Remember when it didn't matter that he hung out with Ayres, Wright, and others? Is anybody understanding why it mattered yet? Probably not

    March 10, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  11. Expat American

    McCain's nomination process would have most likely brought forth the same conclusions – as would have Hillary's selections.
    It is not a Democratic nor is it a Republican problem.
    Many of the people we elect to represent us lose something along the way – And all hope is lost once we re-elect them. How much more of their soul do they sell to live another term in office? Quite a bit, I would say.
    It's the human element that will always stand in the way of many of our elected officials actually fulfilling their service to the people who elect them; that being the basic human need for wealth, power and influence and the price to pay to attain this.
    I pay my taxes every year. Maybe that’s why I’ll never be a politician. 

    March 10, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  12. Independent White Woman

    @WeThePeopleOfVA March 10th, 2009 5:34 pm ET
    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.***Cheney and Rove slipped thru the SYSTEM!!!

    March 10, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Does anyone even check those who might be picked, even before vetting them? What skeletons are in his closet? Taxes??...What.???... Silence comes the reply.

    Must have been a tax thing as usual.

    March 10, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Misery Missouri

    Lack of intelligence has never stopped the Democrats before.

    March 10, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. Llinda

    ConsDemo – You clearly don't have a clue as to why we regard our relationship with Israel so highly. You need to get informed buddy.

    March 10, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. Scott, Tucson

    Why would lack of intelligence experience be a problem for Mr. Freeman? It didn't stop Obama from installing Leon Panetta as head of the CIA.

    March 10, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. Kyle Bloom

    the Isrealy Lobby control washington and anybody that speaks about there crimes and harsh treatement to palesitinians will never make it in washington!!! freedom of speech doesn't exist in washington!!!

    March 10, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  18. Voter

    This is what happens when a true babe in the woods like Obama tries to bring in a person with no background under the umbrella of "Change."

    We need experienced people. Obama needs experienced people. Thank heavens that he has shown general good sense in simply recreating the Clinton Administration.

    Now, we'd REALLY be in good shape if we had Hillary Clinton and the Clinton administration instead of Obama and the Clinton administration.

    So far, the Clinton administration people are showing Barry how it's done, and he's taking all the credit for it.

    How very predictable is Mr. Obama...

    March 10, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. ranjit

    This is not obama's mistake. Starting from Chicago days, he was able to brush anything bad. Obama is doing the same thing with the nomination. If the nominess have some problem, it has nothing to do with obama. If the British prime minister was humiliated, it was his staff and it has nothing to do with Obama. If the wall street keeps going down, it has nothing to do with Obama's policies. Will he own anthing?

    March 10, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. fearful for my country

    Another one bites the dust.

    March 10, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Texas Teacher

    Matthew, Detroit, after what your man Bush did, how in the world can you make such ignorant comments! Obama has only been in office for about 7 weeks! Bush was in office for 8 years, and never once let anyone say anything about his choices for anything! Horse show bozos... Scooters... Brownies... trying to appoint his HOUSEKEEPER to the Supreme Court! And you want us to believe that Obama is a poor President. Go back to that rock you have been under for the last 8 years!

    Hold on... only Rush Limbaugh could say something that stupid! Come on, Rush, give it up! 🙂

    March 10, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. Jan Illinois

    it is crystal clear that they should all be thrown out and a new start begun as soon as possible. Crooks the whole lot of them. Not a worthy man among them.

    March 10, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  23. Maggie from Virginia

    A lot of you sound like you're new to politics. This happens during new administrations. It just wasn't publicized as it is now; and quite frankly, people didnt care to pay attention. Obama has changed politics forever. Behind all the rhetoric, even the GOP is following his lead. They are now all about change, diversity, twitter, facebook, etc... Undisputable evidence that Obama is the man.

    March 10, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  24. Soccer Nana

    There is a subcommittee whose sole purpose is to review all nominees' tax records. In this case, the nominee's tax records are audited from the January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2008 time frame.

    That is how the tax bills, discrepancies, and/or questions arise; the income tax committee reveal their findings.

    President Obama nor any members of his vetting team have no way of knowing of tax delinqencies or non payment thereof until the nominees' tax records are reviewed.

    Get some knowledge of the process before you accuse the President of knowing about someone else's tax problems and issues.

    Do you all know your neighbor and friends tax issues? No, you don't.

    President Obama will be fine; this Country will rebound. You naysayers can only sit back and call him names because you still cannot get beyond his black heritage. Well, get used to it because he is no going anywhere for EIGHT years.

    When President Obama and the current administration succeed, you naysayers will find something else negative to say.

    Just keep right on drinking your Limbaugh kool aid; you will be as obese as he is; full of hate and animosity.

    March 10, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  25. Linda

    Lilly P – Actually, you can thank God for that.

    March 10, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
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