Freeman’s Bin Laden connection
From Carl in Jerusalem
Former US ambassador to Saudi ArabiaÂ Chas Freeman, PresidentObama’s choiceÂ to head the National Intelligence Council, was doing business with the Bin Laden family even after 9/11 according toÂ this reportby Ashley Rindsberg in the Daily Beast.
Charles “Chas” Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had business connections with the bin Laden family and their Saudi Binladin Group, a multi-billion dollar construction conglomerate founded by the father of Osama bin Laden. As chairman of Projects International, Inc., a company that develops international business deals, Mr. Freeman asserted in an interview with the Associated Press less than a month after September 11 that he was still “discussing proposals with the Bin Laden Groupâ€”and that won’t change.”
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In the same interview, Freeman also contested the notion that international companies who had business with the bin Laden family should be “running for public relations cover”, noting that bin Laden was still “a very honored name in the kingdom [of Saudi Arabia]”, despite its family tie to the Al-Qaeda leader. (Freeman wasn’t immediately available for comment.)
Mr. Freeman frequently maintained that the larger bin Laden family was closely aligned with American interests. Contrary to the notion that the family was still supporting and even funding Osama bin Laden, the bin Laden family and its business conglomerate were part of the “establishment that Osama’s trying to overthrow,” as Mr. Freeman told The Wall Street Journal in a separate interview less than two weeks after September 11.
However, The Journal also noted that Freeman’s connections with the bin Laden family went beyond business: Freeman’s Middle East Policy Council, a think tank dedicated to Mideast issues, was receiving “tens of thousand of dollars a year from the bin Laden family” at that time. Since the rumors of his appointment broke, Freeman has been criticized because the pro-Saudi MEPC also accepted donations in the millions of dollars from the Saudi royal family.
Subsequent investigation by U.S. intelligence agencies and journalists of bin Laden family ties to Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden raised questions about the authenticity of the family’s claim of financial and emotional distance from the world’s most wanted terror leader.
A search of campaign finance records reveals that Freeman’s Projects International, Inc. donated upward of $1,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign, which might further complicate what’s already a tangled appointment.