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WashPost: The Country's Loss

Author: David Broder
March 12, 2009

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David S. Broder says that withdrawal of Charles Freeman, who would have headed the National Intelligence Council, is a loss to the United States.

Excerpt: The Obama administration has just suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the lobbyists the president vowed to keep in their place, and their friends on Capitol Hill. The country has lost an able public servant in an area where President Obama has few personal credentials of his own--the handling of national intelligence.

Charles Freeman, the man who was slated to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the high-level interagency group that prepares evaluations for the president and other senior officials, suddenly withdrew his name Tuesday night.

I know it was a sudden decision because I had breakfast with him that morning. He said then that he thought he could ride out the storm caused by his outspoken comments on policy toward China and the Middle East--and the enmity that he had incurred from lobbies supporting Israel and human rights in Tibet.

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