Juan Cole is a professor of Middle Eastern History, University of Michigan, and author of blog, Informed Comment.
This week, The New York Times reported that 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 writes an influential blog that criticized the Iraq war.
Carle tells Eliot that in 2005, the White House wanted "to get" Prof. Cole by discovering information of a personal nature. Carle says, "I was flabbergasted by the request."
Cole tells Eliot that what happened is "deeply troubling," that it harkens back to the "bad old" days of Richard Nixon in the White House, and he advocates strongly that Congress and the Department of Justice investigate the request and what the CIA did about it. He asks, "Were others targeted?"
Editor's note: CNN received a response from the CIA to the allegations made by former CIA officer Glenn Carle and Professor Juan Cole.
A CIA spokeswoman says, "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. We value the insights of outside experts, including respected academics, who follow many of the same national security topics we do."