House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who reportedly urged President Obama against the selection of Chas Freeman to serve in a top intelligence position, spoke publicly for the first time on Thursday about his nomination. Freeman withdrew his name on Wednesday.
"I saw in the paper this morning my name quoted in association with this. I never made a public statement about Chas Freeman's nomination," Pelosi said in response to a question from the Huffington Post. "The conversation I had that was quoted in the paper was in a classified setting which I would never quote, nor should anyone else have."
Newseek earlier reported that Pelosi was "incensed" by Freeman's views of the Tiananmen Square massacre - he thought the Chinese were too soft -- and said that such a position was "indefensible."
Pelosi has been a longtime critic of China's record of human rights abuses.
Freeman, for his part, credited the "Israel Lobby" for derailing his nomination. The Washington Post reported Thursday that AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, had worked behind the scenes to scuttle his selection.