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.

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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 dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.