Glenn Carle, an ex-CIA spy, is alleging that the White House – under then President George W. Bush – at least twice asked the CIA to gather information that would discredit Juan Cole, an outspoken liberal blogger and Professor at the University of Michigan. At this time, Cole was writing highly critical posts regarding the Iraq War on his blog Informed Comment.
Carle tells The New York Times that he refused to take part in the operation because it’s illegal, but that didn’t stop other CIA officials from trying to gather information that would slander Cole:
In an interview, Mr. Carle said his supervisor at the National Intelligence Council told him in 2005 that White House officials wanted ‘to get’ Professor Cole, and made clear that he wanted Mr. Carle to collect information about him, an effort Mr. Carle rebuffed. Months later, Mr. Carle said, he confronted a C.I.A. official after learning of another attempt to collect information about Professor Cole.
If Cole’s claims are true, it’s pretty insane. Think about it: The President put out an order to have a private citizen smeared because of what the person was writing. It’s scary because it seems a little too likely to be true.