DETROIT — The Senate Intelligence Committee is reviewing allegations that the CIA and the Bush White House tried to smear Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes a popular blog on Middle Eastern issues.
“Depending on what we find, we may take further action,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who heads the committee.
Cole had been critical at times of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war. A former CIA official, Glenn Carle, said that under President George W. Bush, the White House ordered the CIA to dig up negative information about Cole’s personal life to discredit his views.
Cole said the reported spying was “criminal.”
“The Bush White House request that the CIA spy on me to discredit me clearly violated the American Constitution, U.S. law, the CIA charter, and my civil and human rights,” he said.
As first reported by the New York Times last week, Carle said his supervisor at the CIA asked him: “Does he (Cole) drink? What are his views? Is he married?” And, “What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?”
A spokesman for the CIA said last week: “We’ve thoroughly researched our records, and any allegation that the CIA provided private or derogatory information on Professor Cole to anyone is simply wrong.”