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Chas Freeman bows out

March 11, 2009

As Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday in this post, Chas Freeman, who Obama nominated to head up the National Intelligence Council, was a difficult man to find if you were only scanning mainstream media sources. Now that Freeman has withdrawn his nomination, a conversation is brewing about exactly how orthodox one has to be to serve the government when dealing with issues vis-a-vis Israel.

It’s clear that most of the pressure against Freeman’s nomination came from the Israel lobby, specifically Steve Rosen, a former AIPAC official who is currently under indictment on espionage charges. Rosen led the charge as a number of politicians and pundits piled on: Representative Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), The New Republic’s Marty Peretz, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer.

Freeman was ardently defended in a number of quarters, and most such accounts tell of a nuanced, feisty, and fearless thinker. David J. Rothkopf at Foreign Policy has a good post on why Freeman’s withdrawal is a foreign-policy establishment loss. To get an idea of the tenor of these arguments, look no further than the comments on Rothkopf’s post.

Also, Max Blumenthal has a more thourough rundown in his piece over at The Daily Beast.

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