University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole, author of the influential Middle Eastern politics blog Informed Comment, is calling for an investigation of reports that the Bush White House directed the Central Intelligence Agency to dig up information that could be used to discredit him.
Former CIA counter terrorism official Glenn Carle told the New York Times that on at least two occasions members of the Bush administration asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Cole, whose blog was seen as critical of the U.S. war effort.
The CIA is prohibited from collecting information about Americans in the U.S. and Carle said that he refused to investigate Cole, but he indicated that others within the agency did compile a report containing derogatory information about him.
Cole said that the revelations come as a "visceral shock."
"It seems to me clear that the Bush White House was upset by my blogging of the Iraq War, in which I was using Arabic and other primary sources, and which contradicted the propaganda efforts of the administration attempting to make the enterprise look like a wild shining success," he said on his blog today.
"You had thought that with all the shennanigans 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."
Cole said that his colleagues have suggested that blackballing by the Bush administration may be the reason for a decline in offers to participate in panel discussions.
"I hope that the Senate and House Intelligence Committees will immediately launch an investigation of this clear violation of the law by the Bush White House and by the CIA officials concerned."