The Middle East Newsline has confirmed the U.S. intelligence community has agreed to investigate an intelligence appointee’s reported connection to Saudi Arabia and China.
National Intelligence director Dennis Blair has agreed to examine Charles Freeman’s – President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the new chairman of the National Intelligence Council – alleged connections.
Mr. Freeman, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, served as a longtime lobbyist for the Arab kingdom in Washington.
“We hope this will put to rest any questions about Ambassador Freeman’s suitability, character and financial history,” Mr. Blair said.
AdSys ad not found for news/world:instory –>
Under the decision, the inspector-general of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would probe Mr. Freeman’s background. Since 1997, Mr. Freeman was president of the Middle East Policy Council, which he acknowledged had received funds from Saudi Arabia.
In his new post, Mr. Freeman would report to Mr. Blair and his deputy, Peter Lavoy. House Republicans told Mr. Blair that Mr. Freeman’s $87,000 annual salary was paid by Riyadh.
The Republicans, led by House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., had asked for an examination of Mr. Freeman’s links with China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In a letter sent out on Thursday, the Republicans wrote Mr. Freeman had served on an international advisory board of the state-owned Chinese National Offshore Oil Co. In 2007, the Chinese firm signed a $16 billion agreement with Iran to develop an oil field.
Mr.Freeman, appointed on Feb. 26, will be asked to respond to their concerns.
He will be given 30 days to identify and resolve potential financial conflicts of interest.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org