Barack Obama has named Chas Freeman to the position of National Intelligence Director and some pro-Israel groups are rightly upset .
The Obama administration on Thursday named as chairman of the National Intelligence Council a veteran former diplomat who heads a think tank that has received major financing from Saudi Arabia.
The appointment of Chas W. Freeman Jr. - who served as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War and has major expertise regarding China - brought praise from some quarters but criticism from elements of the pro-Israel community and from congressional Republicans.
Since 1997, Mr. Freeman has been president of the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), a Washington think tank. In 2007, he accepted a $1 million donation from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud that, according to a press release at the time, was meant for "future projects" for the council.
MEPC Vice President Anne Joyce said the donation was intended to fund an endowment for the council, which, she said, aims to further U.S.-Arab relations and widen the range of debate in Washington from what the group sees as an excessively pro-Israel focus.
Freeman's duties are among the most important in the intelligence community, His main job will be to pull together the National Intelligence Estimates from the various spy agencies - documents which heavily influences the direction of US foreign policy.
Eric Cantor summed up Congressional opposition to the appointment by saying"Chas Freeman's past associations and positions on foreign policy are deeply alarming. His statements about the U.S.-Israel relationship raise serious concerns about his ability to support the administration's attempts to bring security, stability and peace to the Middle East."