Since the days of Watergate, when President Richard Nixon's White House collected information on political enemies, the Central Intelligence Agency has been prohibited from spying on American citizens inside the country. But in a recent article in The New York Times, Glenn Carle—a former senior CIA official—said there were at least two occasions when the George W. Bush White House asked intelligence officers to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole. Cole is a fierce critic of the Iraq War and professor at the University of Michigan. We talk with Carle, who was also a top counterterrorism official, about these alleged spying attempts by the Bush administration.
The following is the statement received from CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood:
“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. Diversity of thought is essential to the business of intelligence analysis.”
The following is attributable solely to a “senior intelligence official” on background: “Cole has participated in CIA conferences in the years since this alleged series of events—in both the Bush and Obama administrations. It’s the smart thing — and the right thing — for American intelligence agencies to hear from smart people.”