Hoekstra hopes Freeman withdrawn


Another top lawmaker is criticizing the Charles "Chas" Freeman appointment. This time, it’s Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, and he’s calling on the Obama administration to withdraw the pick, reports the Wall Street Journal:

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R., Mich.) said in an interview, "I hope that this is one that’s withdrawn." …

Mr. Hoekstra wrote to director of National Intelligence Mr. [Dennis] Blair on Monday to express concern about the appointment of Mr. Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which produces the government’s most comprehensive intelligence analyses. The council’s work was criticized for its National Intelligence Estimate in 2002 assessing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The council job is an appointed post that doesn’t require congressional approval.

The congressman said he is "deeply concerned that an individual who reportedly holds radical and extreme views would be chosen to oversee" intelligence estimates. "The Obama administration has had difficulty vetting people named to senior positions. I am concerned based on what I have read over the last few days that this is also the case with Dr. Freeman," Mr. Hoekstra said.

Mr. Hoekstra met Mr. Blair Tuesday. The intelligence chief made clear his support for Mr. Freeman, Mr. Hoekstra said. The congressman said he plans to meet Mr. Freeman in the next week.

The Journal also has a comment from a Blair spokeswoman:

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair is aware of congressional concerns, said his spokeswoman, Wendy Morigi. She praised Mr. Freeman for his "ability to draw upon his intellectual strength and operational experience to lay out insightful, understandable assessments of complex problems."

Ms. Morigi said the post is "one of analysis, not policy." Mr. Freeman will be an honest broker and focus on "our national interest, not that of the various countries and cultures he understands," she said. Mr. Freeman wasn’t available for comment, she said.

Hoekstra’s full letter can be read here. Here’s the key passage:

My major concern about the Freeman appointment is the message it sends to Congress and intelligence professionals. Rightly or wrongly, there are a lot of bad feelings in Washington over intelligence analysis produced since 9/11. There have been claims of politicized analysis, overly-cautious analysis, and analysis that was erroneous. This is a time to move on and rebuild the integrity of U.S. intelligence analysis after several years of turmoil. I am therefore deeply concerned that an individual who reportedly holds radical and extreme views would be chosen to oversee NIEs, the IC’s most comprehensive and authoritiative intelligence assessments.

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