While I am deeply disturbed by former CIA analyst Glenn Carle's recent revelations that there was a White House-directed appeal to the CIA to dig up dirt on my friend and blogging comrade Juan Cole, I am not surprised at all by this news.
The George W. Bush administration ignored the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq and invaded nonetheless; went after Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame — lying about who did what and who knew what at very high levels of government; created a Kafkaesque international legal purgatory in Guantanamo where normal rules didn't apply and where torture became a routenized part of managing high value detainees; and engaged in massive domestic spying on US citizens. We learned that many retired US Generals and Admirals hired out to US news organizations like Fox were given talking points and retainers by the Pentagon to not provide objective analysis but be 'seemingly' independent talking heads controlled by the Department of Defense.
So some in the CIA and White House wanted to slander and undermine blogging irritant Juan Cole for the uncomfortable material he would offer on his blog – much of which was reporting what was actually appearing in the Middle East press but not reaching American media.
Am I surprised?? Not at all.
Of course the government did this to Cole and perhaps others. Governments that begin fabricating lies and distorting norms of the American political system don't know where to stop and quickly become corrupt and abusive.
Kudos to Glenn Carle, and to some degree former National Intelligence Council Chairman David Gordon, for recounting what they saw happen. Hopefully these revelations will inhibit slander projects against others.
And as always, read Juan Cole's Informed Comment — whose stock value will go even further up after this sordid effort to undermine him.
Many in that administration owe Cole an apology — and Yale University which ended up withdrawing a job offer that it had extended to Cole after receiving significant conservative pressure should also investigate whether they played a role in the CIA's slander project.