The U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee is reviewing whether the Bush administration and CIA attempted to find and disseminate negative information about Juan Cole, a U-M professor of history and south Asian studies, in order to discredit his publicly critical views of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war.
In response to those allegations, first reported in The New York Times on June 15, Provost Phil Hanlon released a statement acknowledging professor Cole's longtime service and value as a "renowned Middle East scholar and popular teacher" in LSA. The statement also acknowledges university's support for the principle of academic freedom.
LSA Dean Terrence McDonald, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of history, expressed concern over the media reports.
"I was surprised to learn of these allegations. If indeed they are true, I find this extremely disappointing and would consider it a serious attack on Professor Cole's first amendment rights," McDonald said.
Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History and chair of the LSADepartment of History, said of Cole, "He is a widely respected historian of the region, an astute analyst and source for informed commentary on contemporary events."