Charles "Chas" Freeman has turned down his appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
His decision was announced in a statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair Tuesday afternoon, who said he accepted Freeman’s decision "with regret."
The selection of Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had been controversial since his name became public last month. Pro-Israel advocates objected to his statements blaming the Jewish state for not making peace in the Middle East.
Freeman led a Saudi-funded think tank, the Middle East Policy Council, and chaired Projects International, a group that represented U.S. business interests in Saudi Arabia and China.
Subsequent reporting of past Freeman statement’s apologizing for Saudi and Chinese behavior helped fuel the controversy.