The Post Editors Have Had Enough

The Washington Post editors have reached their limit with Chas Freeman and his supporters. They write:

Mr. Freeman headed a Saudi-funded Middle East advocacy group in Washington and served on the advisory board of a state-owned Chinese oil company. It was only reasonable to ask — as numerous members of Congress had begun to do — whether such an actor was the right person to oversee the preparation of National Intelligence Estimates.

Dubbing his departing screed “grotesque libel,” they, unlike their paper’s previous news reporting, do not spare their readers a sampling of his noxious missive. Nor do they, unlike the Freeman Lobby (are they the Saudi Lobby? the Pro-Autocrat Lobby? the 9-11 Apologist Lobby?), ignore the varied concerns of his critics or the central part played by Nancy Pelosi (enraged by Freeman’s infatuation with Chinese thuggery) in his withdrawal. And they end with this:

What’s striking about the charges by Mr. Freeman and like-minded conspiracy theorists is their blatant disregard for such established facts. Mr. Freeman darkly claims that “it is not permitted for anyone in the United States” to describe Israel’s nefarious influence. But several of his allies have made themselves famous (and advanced their careers) by making such charges — and no doubt Mr. Freeman himself will now win plenty of admiring attention. Crackpot tirades such as his have always had an eager audience here and around the world. The real question is why an administration that says it aims to depoliticize U.S. intelligence estimates would have chosen such a man to oversee them.

And that is where the story now leads us, they correctly note. How was it that Blair placed him in this role? And why should we now have confidence in his judgment?