Washington, Feb 27 (ANI): Chas W. Freeman Jr., picked by the Obama Administration to head the National Intelligence Council, is a veteran former diplomat who heads a think tank that has received major financing from Saudi Arabia.
The appointment of Freeman Jr., who served as US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War and has major expertise regarding China.
The new intelligence chief pick of Obama brought praise from some quarters, but criticism from elements of the pro-Israel community and from congressional Republicans, The Washington Times reported.
Freeman has been president of the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), a Washington think tank, since 1997. In 2007, he accepted a one million dollar donation from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud that, according to a press release at the time, was meant for "future projects" for the council.
In his new position, which does not require Senate confirmation, Freeman will oversee production of national intelligence estimates and other analyses that represent the consensus judgments on which national security policy is based.
"Ambassador Freeman is a distinguished public servant who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in defense, diplomacy and intelligence that are absolutely critical to understanding today's threats and how to address them," said Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, in announcing the appointment.
However, members of pro-Israeli community have privately criticized the choice of Mr. Freeman since rumors of the appointment leaked earlier this week. Republican members of Congress also have objected.
On Thursday night, Senator Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois began circulating a letter to the inspector general of the Office of the Director for National Intelligence urging a review of Freeman's organization. (ANI)