That's the view of Congressman Steve Israel, a Tibet expert:

Israel, a member of the House Appropriations Committee's Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, said in a telephone interview that "as I was leaving the White House this afternoon, they told me of Blair's statement" of Freeman's withdrawal. "I think Blair's defense of Freeman was indefensible, and people in the White House realized that."

Here's Blair's defense:

Blair forcefully defended Freeman, saying the intelligence community needs people with strong views because out of that come the best ideas. He added, however, that the job of the intelligence community is not to make policy but to inform it with ideas and that Freeman, "with his long experience, his inventive mind will add to those strongly."

Blair said Freeman's statements had been taken out of context, and he urged members "to look at the full context of what he was saying." Blair responded that he could do a better job as director of national intelligence "if I'm getting strong analytical viewpoints to sort out and pass on to you and to the president than if I am getting pre-cooked, pablum judgments that don't really challenge."

That is indefensible from the Obama administration's view, according to the Israel (the dude not the country). If I were Blair and believed that, I'd resign.

One reason I have taken an interest in this is my own remorse over Iraq war intelligence. We were all subject to groupthink. No one existed within the Bush administration to question intelligence that came fully endorsed by almost all of those opposing Freeman today. And if a Charles Freeman had been in the Bush administration with any influence at all, he might - just might - have been able to air real skepticism. We now know that such skepticism is not allowed in the US government, if such skepticism might in any way mean skepticism of one country's role in the Middle East.

It's not anti-Semitic to worry about that, especially as Israel's war with Iran looms on the horizon.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to