The Washington Times - February 26, 2009, 06:20PM

Charles W. “Chas” Freeman, Jr., has been named head of the National Intelligence Council, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced this afternoon.

“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 DNI Dennis Blair.  “The country is fortunate that Ambassador Freeman has agreed to return to public service and contribute his remarkable skills toward further strengthening the Intelligence Community’s analytical process.” 

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Laura Rozen at The Cable originally broke the news of Freeman’s impending appointment, and has has been all over the controversy surrounding the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who as head of the NIC will preside over the formation of National Intelligence Estimates.

Politico’s Ben Smith has also reported on resistance to Freeman, and linked a few days ago to some fascinating back story involving Steve Rosen, one of the main guys opposing Freeman’s appointment.

I saw Freeman last night at a speech by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to the Council on Foreign Relations, on the topic of NATO’s 60th anniversary.

Freeman asked Sikorski what kind of compromises NATO might be able to make with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Sikorski said that NATO cannot appoint a strong man to rule the nation, because it would not work and because it would contradict all of the work the West has put into promoting democracy there.

“I think the Taliban have already been made an offer. Anybody who wants to join in the constitutional process can do so,” Sikorski said.

— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times

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