Smear job

CIA official reveals agency had contemplated campaign against Juan Cole

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:00 am

Speaking of Juan Cole, who has twice graced the pages of this rag with long interviews regarding issues of war and Middle Eastern politics, The New York Times last week disclosed allegations that the Bush White House twice tried to get the CIA to target him with a smear campaign.

As respected national security correspondent James Risen reported, "Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information" on Cole, who used his Informed Comment blog to heap criticism on Bush and his handling of the Iraq war.

In a piece for London's Guardian newspaper, Cole posted this reaction:

"Carle's revelations come as a visceral shock. You had thought that with all the shenanigans of the CIA against anti-Vietnam war protesters and then Nixon's use of the agency against critics like Daniel Ellsberg, that 'the Company' and successive White Houses would have learned that the agency had no business spying on American citizens."

"What alarms me most of all in the nakedly illegal deployment of the CIA against an academic for the explicit purpose of destroying his reputation for political purposes is that I know I am a relatively small fish," Cole observes, "and it seems to me rather likely that I was not the only target of the baleful team at the White House."