Rosen’s Revenge

By Jeremy Gillick

In August of 2005 the United States made an unlikely indictment: following an FBI raid on AIPAC’s offices, it accused Steve Rosen, one of the pro-Israel group’s most senior and influential lobbyists, of passing classified information leaked to him by a Pentagon analyst to the Israeli government.

The pro-Israel community rushed to his defense, but newspapers worldwide pounced on the case, using it as a springboard to attack AIPAC. The indictment itself was sufficient to disgrace Rosen, who soon lost his job, and whatever the trial’s outcome, it seemed unlikely that he would ever regain his influence or stature.

Now, with his long-awaited trial less than two months away (it’s scheduled for April 29), Rosen has re-emerged, according to several reports, as the man responsible for the downfall of Charles (Chas) W. Freeman, Jr, who recently accepted an appointment as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

After a lengthy absence from the small world of Middle East policy, last November, Rosen began blogging about the Obama administration for the Middle East Forum, a think tank run by the neo-conservative Daniel Pipes.

On February 19, Rosen wrote a post about Freeman entitled “Alarming appointment at the CIA.”

Noting that he was for the most part pleased with President Obama’s appointments, Rosen described Freeman as radically anti-Israel and suspiciously close to the Saudi Arabian government. “Freeman is a strident critic of Israel, and a textbook case of the old-line Arabism that afflicted American diplomacy at the time the state of Israel was born,” he wrote. “His views of the region are what you would expect in the Saudi foreign ministry, with which he maintains an extremely close relationship, not the top CIA position for analytic products going to the President of the United States.”

According to Robert Dreyfuss, writing in The Nation a week later, Fox News picked up on Rosen’s post and its follow-ups, and The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal and others quickly chimed in.

Today, after withdrawing his earlier acceptance of the position, Freeman wrote in a widely publicized email:

“I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country…The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors…”

Freeman’s withdrawal made the front page of The Washington Post today, just one day after it ran an editorial calling the case against Steve Rosen “misguided” and suggesting that Attorney General Eric Holder drop the charges.

There’s a good chance he’ll escape punishment, and even if he doesn’t, he’s not going to disappear without a fight. Nor is he going to quit meddling in politics. Almost before the Freeman campaign was off the ground, Rosen launched another, equally ambitious scheme: on March 2, he sued AIPAC for 21 million dollars.

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