Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Free Agent

We reported Tuesday that President Obama's candidate to head the National Intelligence Council Chas Freeman had withdrawn his name from consideration amid objections over his criticism of Israel and ties to China and Saudi Arabia.

Well, Freeman is now blasting his pro-Israeli critics. In a statement he said: "The tactics of the Israel lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and utter disregard for the truth."

The controversy had gone largely unnoticed by many in the mainstream media. The New York Times published its first article on the story today.

Busy Signal

Britain's Cabinet secretary says coordinating with the Obama administration is "unbelievably difficult." Sir Gus O'Donnell says the new administration is hampering preparations for April's G-20 summit in London. The gathering is seen as vital in combating the global financial crisis. But O'Donnell says contacting personnel at the U.S. treasury is nearly impossible: "There is nobody there. You cannot believe how difficult it is."

Several treasury posts remain unfilled, nearly two months after President Obama was sworn in and pledged his economic team — led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner — would fight the economic crisis head-on.

Flying Off the Handle

And finally, Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter was not happy after missing the last call for his flight out of Washington's Dulles airport last week. Roll Call newspaper reports Vitter arrived 20 minutes before his plane was due to leave, only to find the gate closed.

Vitter opened the gate's door, triggering alarms and prompting a verbal altercation with an airline worker. The story says Vitter went ballistic and employed what the paper calls "the timeworn do-you-know-who-I-am tirade." When Vitter was warned that security would be summoned, he is said to have fled the scene. Senator Vitter's office has not yet responded to our request for comment.

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.