Now that Chas Freeman is out of a job — and this is clearly a win for advocates of Chinese human rights and liberalism and empiricism and not other issues; Chuck Schumer is obviously playing for votes in Chinatown — it’s worth considering something. The other day, I wrote that Freeman’s critics win with him as National Intelligence Council chairman, because it would allow them to marginalize the NIC’s findings if they should ever find them inconvenient. That’s clearly gone.
But perhaps there’s more to it. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, clearly wanted Freeman to stay. He defended Freeman unequivocally to GOP Senators in a letter Friday and again today in open testimony. Greg Sargent’s reporting suggests that the Obama administration declined to stand by Freeman in the face of criticism. What’s the likelihood that Blair has much patience with the arguments or the protestations of good faith made by Freeman’s critics in the future? In the long run, as I wrote earlier, Freeman is a minor player and the NIC chairmanship became a backwater in the previous administration. Obviously Blair’s role isn’t a policy role. But this crowd is probably dead to Dennis Blair going forward.
Update: Let’s add this:
Laura Rozen prints an email National Intelligence Committee Non-Chairman Chas Freeman sent out in response to his resignation:
The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.
Why, doesn’t he know that all Steve Rosen cares about is human rights in China?
Crossposted to The Streak.