In a remarkable bit of investigative reporting, Walter PIncus of the Washington Post confirmed his previous reporting on the withdrawn appointment of Chas Freeman to be the next head of the National Intelligence Council. As Pincus wrote in Intelligence Pick Blames 'Israel Lobby' For Withdrawal. After quoting Freeman's charges about the "Israel lobby," Pincus spelled things out:
Rosen's initial posting was the first of 17 he would write about Freeman over a 19-day period. Some of those added more original reporting, while some pointed to other blogs' finds about Freeman's record. In the process, Rosen traced increasing interest in the appointment elsewhere in the blogosphere, including coverage by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard, and Chait and Martin Peretz of the New Republic.
Today, Pincus confirmed that Freeman was, indeed, correct in Mideast Press Questions Obama:
The Middle East press has questioned President Obama's authority over Arab-Israeli issues since Charles W. Freeman Jr.'s withdrawal from his appointment to a senior intelligence position.
A commentary in Abu Dhabi's the National, a newspaper owned by an investment fund controlled by the government, said Freeman's decision Tuesday to withdraw as chairman of the National Intelligence Council "threw the Obama administration into the heart of a long-running controversy over the alleged supremacy of pro-Israel hawks in determining U.S. foreign policy after having taken a cautious approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far consistent with previous administrations."
The Daily Star in Beirut went further, saying Freeman's action "is likely to be viewed as a significant victory for hardliners within the so-called 'Israeli lobby,' who led the movement to scuttle his appointment, and a blow to hopes for a new approach to Israel-Palestine issues under the Obama administration."
Pincus also quotes from a Saudi news source, that was upset over the scuttling of the appointment.
To his credit, I suppose, Pincus quotes Caroline Glick at the end of his article. (Glick unfortunately misidentifies Doug Jehl as being an editor of the Washington Post; he's an editor of the New York Times. And the e-mail was sent to Greg Sargent not to Michael Goldfarb. And I don't doubt that the Washington Post viewed things exactly as Jehl did. Still, for the purpose of accuracy, it would be preferable if she were more careful.)
Still Pincus's report today seems to be a way of justifying his previous outing on the topic of Freeman's withdrawn nomination. The recklessness that Pincus tries to justify does have costs. I found a different Saudi online publication that asserted:
"President Barack Obama is swimming against the tide," said Khaled Batarfi, a senior political analyst. "He will have to keep trying to get his men in the positions that he want them to. Obama would have faced similar problems if his choice of Middle East envoy George J. Mitchell had gone through US Congress. Mitchell would have lost in getting the US Congress approval. Despite being a Democratic Congress we know it is actually an Israeli Congress."
Actually, like Mitchell, Freeman's appointment did not have to be confirmed by the Senate. Freeman withdrew on his own.
This is odd in the extreme. The Post reports on the Freeman debacle in the Opinion pages. The "news" reporter accepts and promotes the unsubstantiated Arab Lobby view of Freeman and the influence of the Jews. Pincus could have followed the factual trail neatly handed him by Frank Wolf and Charles Lane's pieces. But no, his beat is apparently the Arab Lobby and he does a fine job of presenting their views.
But it is nice to know how in sync the Left blogosphere is with the House of Saud.
Not just the Left blogosphere, the MSM too. (Rubin links to the Wolf and Lane columns here.)
It's worth pointing out that in its first weeks in power, the Obama administration had done things like engage the planners of the Durban II conference and promised $900 million for rebuilding Gaza. Even though the administration did pull out of the Durban II planning when it became that the organizers were not signifcantly more fair-minded than a lynch mob, Anne Bayefsky, who's watched the spectacle unfold, still thinks that the administration hurt Israel by its ill-fated effort to reach out. And as Representative Mark Kirk observed, if even 10% of the money gets through to Hamas - not an unlikely event - despite American controls, that means that American taxpayers will be funding the terrorist organization to the tune of $90 million. They can buy plenty of Qassams with that.
So in three major issues, the omnipotent Israel lobby has apparently prevailed once. (And I'm not convinced that it was the Israel lobby that made the difference in Freeman's withdrawal. I think it was the IG's investigation.) Batting .333 is not what you'd expect from a powerful lobby. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people, including supposedly objective reporters, who seem willing to peddle the myth.
Makes you wonder why Pincus didn't just go straight to Duke rather than risk having his quotes garbled in translation from the original Arabic.
Crossposted on Yourish.Posted by SoccerDad at March 15, 2009 1:18 PM