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Obama’s Intel Chief Has Ties To Chinese Government

JERUSALEM – President Obama’s appointment for a top intelligence post sits on the board of a major oil company owned by the Chinese government that many see as conducting business meant to expand China’s influence worldwide.

Charles “Chas” Freeman, slated to head the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), is a board member of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), which in 2005 tried to purchase the ninth largest oil firm in the U.S. The merger was halted following bipartisan congressional opposition amid fears the deal would harm American national security interests.

Freeman, who was the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War, has served on the board of CNOOC since 2004. He also founded a pro-China organization, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, which seeks to promote U.S.-China relations.

Freeman did not reply to requests for comment.

CNOOC, which is China’s third largest oil company, focuses on the exploitation, exploration and development of crude oil and natural gas offshore of China. Seventy-five percent of the company’s shares are owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China.

Back in 2005, CNOOC made a staggering, all-cash $18.5 billion offer to buy the American oil company Unocal, topping an earlier bid by ChevronTexaco. Immediately, lawmakers and many policy experts, including a broad array of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, mounted a major opposition campaign to the bid.

“This takeover is part of a Chinese strategy to move very aggressively into acquiring natural resource assets all over the world to fuel China’s continued growth,” Alan Tonelson, a research fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council, told reporters at the time. “It’s also part of a Chinese campaign to move, again, very aggressively into the American economy.”

Meanwhile, Arakan Oil Watch, a human rights organization, issued a report last October accusing CNOOC of human rights abuses and land theft in an oil prospecting venture in Burma.

The accusations against CNOOC ranged from land seizure to wanton pollution of rice fields and water systems with oil waste.

Freeman’s involvement with China has a long history. He was the principle American interpreter during President Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing in 1972 and was a member of the advance team that opened the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing in 1973. From 1979 to 1981, Freeman directed Chinese Affairs at the State Department and from 1981 until 1984 he served as charg? and deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Beijing.

Freeman has been widely quoted in the media supporting Chinese policies and even penned a piece praising communist Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Friends of Israel are also wary of Freeman’s appointment. Israeli news media websites and blogs have been highlighting recent comments Freeman made that are perceived as heavily critical of Israel.

In addition, a Middle East think tank run by Freeman reportedly provided American schools a wildly inaccurate, anti-Israel, Saudi-funded textbook. The think tank also received donations from Osama bin Laden’s family.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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