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Wolf Socks Freeman

10:28 PM, Mar 9, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Eli Lake reports on the letter from Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee promising increased scrutiny of the Obama administration's intelligence analysis owing to their complete lack of confidence in the selection of Chas Freeman to head the NIC. Lake also reports that Rep. Wolf, a vocal critic of human rights abuses by the People's Republic of China, spoke with Dennis Blair on Monday to make his concerns clear. Last week Wolf sent a letter to Obama asking him to reconsider the appointment, and today he announced he'd be sending something else to Blair:

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, spoke with Mr. Blair on Monday to oppose the appointment. He said he would be sending Mr. Blair a pair of socks made by Tiananmen protesters in a Beijing prison that Mr. Wolf visited in 1991. He also will send Mr. Blair a videotape of two women from a Darfur refugee camp describing how they were raped by Sudanese forces.

It seems fair to ask how someone ends up on the wrong side of the whole Tienanmen Square thing. At what point exactly did Freeman think the protesters had gone too far? Was it the mini-Statue of Liberty that set off his realist alarm bells? Elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal posts a pretty stunning statement from the administration on the status of Freeman's appointment:

Wendy Morigi, a spokeswoman for Blair, said Freeman was chosen for his brainpower and his ability to question assumptions. Freeman spent 30 years in government, including ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a top defense official for international security. Blair and Freeman have known each other for many years.

Blair wanted "somebody who understood the world, who understood key regions and key players," Ms. Morigi said. "If Director Blair thought for a second that there was any question about his history or his allegiances, we wouldn't be in this situation, obviously."

What situation would that be? Presumably the situation where Congress has flooded Dennis Blair's office with serious questions about Freeman's history and allegiances. And how likely is it that Dennis Blair will be an effective spy chief if he so badly miscalculated the reaction Freeman's appointment would provoke just down the street at the U.S. Capitol.