Freeman would have been in charge of editing future National Intelligence Estimates. As Andrew Sullivan rightly hinted, the Israel lobbies did not want someone there so unsympathetic to their conviction that Iran is an imminent and existential threat to Israel, and so unlikely to report out conclusions that would underpin a US war on Iran, or US permission to Israel to strike Iran. The NIC chairman's tenure can last for a decade, and the Israel lobbies' best hope for a war on Iran would come if the Republicans regained the presidency and at least the Senate in 2012. They would want cooked-up NIEs ready to go, as the deeply flawed 2002 Iraq NIE supported that war.
UPDATE: Obama's gestures toward Iran are ambiguous, to say the least.
Obama's recent video message which was seen as 'positive' by western analysts was not preceded neither followed by positive action, especially when it comes to sanctions against Iran confirming his secretary of state criticism during the democratic primary campaign that he is all words and no deeds.
Iranian analysts said easing sanctions held the key to allaying Tehran's suspicions.
Some said Obama's decision last week to renew the US boycott of Iran's oil industry was at odds with the message in his video.
Saeed Leylaz, a pro-reform analyst, said security guarantees would be needed to convince Khamenei that the US was serious about engagement. "I think Obama's message can be a significant step but it's not sufficient," Leylaz said.
Sadegh Kharazi, a former Iranian ambassador to Paris and the UN, said Obama's message changed US "body language" but still characterised Iran in a negative way.
"There's still a negative terminology towards Iran as terrorist-supporting and as a military problem and these descriptions aren't fair."
Obama and Israeli Leader Make Video Appeals to Iran I wonder where the idea for this apeal originated ? In Israel or in Washington DC ? The synchronisation of both appeals will be felt as a provocation by many in Iran. Ar least this is the way I personally feel. Expect nasty things from Mr. O.