In his letter defending his nomination of Charles Freeman to the post of Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (Freeman has withdrawn his nomination), Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair stated that the quotes attributed to Freeman that caused controversy were all taken out of context.
Jake Tapper of ABC News reported that Senator Lieberman responded to Blair's claim by stating that (at least) he had read all the statements in context and that they were indeed controversial if not scandalous and that they cast serious doubt on Freeman's qualifications for the position.
Blair: "As far as the statements of Ambassador Freeman that have appeared in the press those have all been out of context, and I urge everyone to look at the full context of what he was saying. I'm better off getting strong analytical viewpoints ...than if I'm getting precooked pablum judgments that don't really challenge." (This was from a transcript)
Now comes an example of how Blair's "out of context" defense of his long-time friend was duplicitous:
The Washington Post has finally reported on the controversy surrounding the appointment of Charles Freeman to head the National Intelligence Council. It seems that the Post also spoke to Charles Freeman, though they don't have any on the record quotes from the appointee. According to the paper, Freeman is claiming he was taken out of context in his views on the Tienanmen Square massacre:
Freeman has also been faulted for statements about the Tienanmen Square uprising in 1989. Critics have said that he faulted the Chinese for not acting earlier in putting down the demonstrations, but Freeman said the remarks were his assessment of how Chinese leaders had seen things.
Freeman's allies are claiming this as well -- Blair just offered this defense of Freeman in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Well, Dennis Blair, Director of National intelligence, was wrong -- as a few minutes of research would have cleared up.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD published Freeman's entire email. Freeman described how the Chinese leadership saw those events, and then seconded their assessment. He agreed that the protests were intolerable and that the government had only done what was, in his view, necessary to end the standoff. Freeman wasn't taken out of context, and it's deeply dishonest for Freeman and his friends to claim otherwise.
The memo can be read here.
Next example of Blair's manipulation of intelligence:
Dennis Blair's letter to Congress only mentioned Saudi government funding of Freeman's Middle East Policy Council.
This minimized the appearance of dependence on Saudi Arabia for the funding of the think tank. This was deceptive. In fact, Steve Rosen gets right to the bottom of how deceptive this statement was ( a big sin of omission) since funding from Saudi sources extends beyond just funding from the government.
According to a letter from the Acting Executive Director of Freeman's Middle East Policy Council in today's Washington Times, MEPC received five previously undisclosed contributions from the Saudi Foreign Ministry in 2008, and $1 million from the King of Saudi Arabia in 2005. In addition, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud announced that he "donated more than $1 million to the US Middle East Policy Council" on March 18, 2007. MEPC's executive director says in his letter that the budget of MEPC is $600,000 a year, a sum roughly equal to the total of these three contributions from different donors in Saudi Arabia since 2005. He claims that,"Over the past decade, scheduled contributions to the council from the Saudi government have amounted to less than one-twelfth of our annual budget." What if we take unscheduled contributions and only the period since 2005?? The numbers suggest a much higher level of dependence on Saudi Arabian sources.
Blair's letter to Congress mentions only Saudi government funding. Universities that receive federal funding having to disclose all foreign-source gifts above a certain amount, and this should be the standard for the national intelligence Council. Likewise, what about other Arab/Gulf governments? Freeman should reveal all foreign-sourced gifts, donations, etc. for the entire time he headed the MEPC.
Saudi royals and businessmen tied to them are de facto government sources of funding when the country is run by the Saudi royal family. Trivia question? What is the only nation on earth named after a family? Time is up. Saudi Arabia is named after the Saud family, which includes Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud.
Blair may just be parroting what the Middle East Policy Council and Chas Freeman sent to him. One would hope, though, that the Director of National Intelligence would appreciate that the Saudi government is all but synonymous with the Saudi royal family and the various businessmen tied into the government and the family. Prudence would lead one to include all sources from Saudi Arabia-not just those from the de jure government-in one's calculations of the money sent from the kingdom to its de facto Ambassador, Charles Freeman.
Will any of the critics that lambasted George Bush during his terms in office for manipulating intelligence raise an inquiry why our Director of National Intelligence seemingly manipulated intelligence (or certainly did not seek out intelligence -- a fact that should have been clear in his pick of Freeman) before a Senate Committee?
Ed Lasky is News Editor of American Thinker.