Congressional Letter Asking for an Investigation
of Chas Freeman’s Past and Current Activities
on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Freeman served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1989-1992 and has since 1997 served as President of the Saudi funded Middle East Policy Council or MEPC. This group, the MEPC, was formerly known as the American Arab Affairs Council and is still one of the major lobbying group for the Arab world. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia awarded Freeman, in 1994, the Order of “King Abd Al-Aziz” 1st Class (Diplomatic Service) for his work on behalf of the US-Saudi relationship.
The ZOA strongly opposes the appointment of Ambassador Freeman to this position, and applauds Congressman Kirk for initiating this letter. The ZOA also applauds Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY, 2nd District), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence oversight subcommittee, for having sent a similar letter on February 27th, 2009.
Commenting on the Freeman appointment, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic noted: “Freeman is well-known for his hostility toward Israel, but what’s more substantively troubling about this report is the obvious inappropriateness of hiring a well-known advocate for the interests of Middle Eastern autocracies to produce national intelligence estimates for the Obama Administration” (Jeffrey Goldberg, ‘Saudi Advocate to Run the National Intelligence Council?,’ February 23, 2009). Pointing to some of Freeman’s ideological thinking, Jon Chait, in the Washington Post, notes that the appointment of Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council is a “major mistake.”
Freeman is his own words:
· “We have paid heavily and often in treasure in the past for our unflinching support and unstinting subsidies of Israel….Five years ago [a reference to the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks] we began to pay with the blood of our citizens here at home. We are now paying with the lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines on battlefields in several regions of the realm of Islam…” (‘Remarks to the 15th Annual US-Arab Policymakers Conference,’ Washington, D.C., 31 October 2006).
· “The problem of terrorism that now bedevils us has its origins in one region – the Middle East. To end this terrorism we must address the issues in the region that give rise to it. Principal among these is the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation … American identification with Israeli policy has also become total. Those in the region and beyond it who detest Israeli behavior, which is to say almost everyone, now naturally extend their loathing to Americans. This has had the effect of universalizing anti-Americanism, legitimizing radical Islamism, and gaining Iran a foothold among Sunni as well as Shiite Arabs. For its part, Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians…” (‘Can American Leadership Be Restored?’ Remarks to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs Washington, D.C., 24 May 2007).
For more on Freeman’s striking inappropriateness for the position of NIC Chairman, and for additional examples of his odious anti-Israel pronouncements, see the ZOA press release here: https://www.zoa.org/sitedocuments/pressrelease_view.asp?pressreleaseID=1588
We encourage you to contact your Representative to express your support for the Rep. Kirk letter requesting an investigation into Chas Freeman’s past and current relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and urge them to support this effort and sign on to this letter.
Phone 202.224.3121 & ask for your Member of the House of Representatives. Alternatively, you can obtain this information through our website by CLICKING HERE.
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TEXT OF LETTER:
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Washington, DC 20511
As you may know, Amb. Freeman most recently served as President of the Middle East Policy Council, a think-tank funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The board of directors includes Dr. Fuad Rihani, a consultant to the Saudi Binladin Group – a multinational construction conglomerate and holding company for the assets owned by the bin Laden family.
On September 20, 2006, in an interview with the Saudi-US Relations Information Service, Amb. Freeman said that “thanks to the generosity of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia we have managed to accumulate an endowment” for the Middle East Policy Council. According to filings with the Internal Revenue Service, Amb. Freeman drew an annual salary from the Middle East Policy Council. However, the foundation has never publicly released its list of contributors – Schedule B of IRS Form 990.
Therefore, we urge your review, release and report back to the Congress on Amb. Freeman’s personal financial disclosures and the list of all contributors to the Middle East Policy Council across all years that Amb. Freeman drew a salary from the foundation to ensure Amb. Freeman faces no conflict of interest in his new position.
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver. The ZOA is a grassroots organization.
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