Cole on Goodman & CIA Surveillance

With something like being put under CIA surveillance by the Bush White House, you keep thinking to yourself, as in an old argument, about the things you should have said. I talked briefly to Amy Goodman, and what was on my mind was all the people who said that Bush should be given some of the credit for the killing of Usamah Bin Laden. And I thought, the Bush White House was so unserious about that task that they closed down the Bin Laden unit in the CIA, and worse, they were using the CIA to spy on American bloggers instead!

And, I mean, really. How inept do you have to be to enlist intelligence officials in monitoring bloggers? They put up their thoughts for everyone to see every day! I keep thinking of David Low’s stupid question as to what the CIA could find out about me. Did he mean, aside from the gigabytes of data at my own blog? And, if he was involved in Iraq or counter-terrorism, is he serious that he had never heard of me in 2005? Wouldn’t that be like being a rhythm and blues fan and never having heard of Alicia Keyes?

They didn’t capture Bin Laden; the Bushies were about enjoying being in power here in the US, and making sure that they had no real opposition while they were in DC.

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10 Responses

  1. So, I guess this is one way to know that your blog was having an effect, right? ISTR that Art Buchwald used to say, half-seriously, that the great disappointment of his life was finding out, years after the fact, that he hadn’t made it onto Nixon’s enemies list?

  2. This is what J Edgar Hoover used to do. He had FBI agents looking for dirt on his political enemies, which he kept in special files in his office. Anthony Summers wrote a book called Official and Confidential about those files when he got them released by FOIA. This is pretty standard fare in the spy business, derogatory info is held back for blackmail/extortion, or released to destroy the person if he can’t be controlled. What is unusual and illegal is to do this to a US citizen. I wonder if this is a unique case or were there other victims? That’s what Congress should be asking. If you cant get congress to investigate it, get a prominent member of Congress to put his name on a FOIA request for all CIA records that mention you – get the heads of the intel oversight committees to do it, if they wont do an actual investigation. Geez I just looked up who your representatives are and one of them is Carl Levin. You go right to his office whenever you’re finished doing whatever you’re doing in Amsterdam. (lol)

  3. I was unable to access your site this morning for a significant amount of time. I assume that it was just a normal server outage (are you hosted at U of M?), but I wonder if you were aware. But the timing was strange – lending itself to speculation about someone not wanting you up at a moment when you were getting a lot of publiciy.

    Might be worth addressing in the blog, or at least asking if anyone else had an issue.

  4. —And, if he was involved in Iraq or counter-terrorism, is he serious that he had never heard of me in 2005? —

    it’s like being a basketball fan and not knowing Mookie Blaylock or Marvin Barnes.

    • Thanks for the Mookie Blaylock reference. It’s like, if the guy was a jazz critic and he knew Kenny G, but he never heard of Kenny Burrell or Tommy Flanagan.

  5. Professor Juan Cole thank you for all of your efforts to bring facts and solid information to the American people. It is both pathetic and seems criminal that the Bush administration would spend any time bringing down someone who is trying to bring solid information and a broader perspective to American citizens and others around the world.

    A shame

  6. The federal government’s choice to task individuals with spying on an American professor rather than on the person responsible on some level for the attacks that prompted a war that has already spanned nearly a decade (and looks like it will be lasting much longer than that) is certainly perplexing. It’s ridiculous to think that the potential benefits of your research and opinions were crushed on some level by those seeking to destroy any opposition to Bush. Although the Bush administration didn’t seem interested in reading or hearing what you had to offer, your attempt to inform the public hasn’t been all in vain – as is proven by the number of comments on many of your posts and the numbers of times people share your posts.

    I did not read your blog nor know anything about you during the time that the CIA thought it necessary to spy on you. I am pleased that you have such an extensive network of people that support you and your work today and that did so during that time. I am also pleased that Glenn Carle was willing to expose what he experienced when asked about it. I hope the NYT article he and you were interviewed for spreads to as many Americans as possible. Additionally, I am pleased that Yale University “scuttled” your possible appointment to their faculty, so that I was fortunate enough to receive your instruction while attending the University of Michigan.

    I think all intelligent individuals would agree that a democratic government should be working to benefit and protect its citizens rather than looking for ways to discredit or even arrest its citizens. The so-called PATRIOT Act seems to have the goal of protecting Americans by catching terrorists harboring within the USA. Given the recent renewal of the PATRIOT Act, do you believe that the federal government, under Obama, has squashed any chance to be distinct from the Bush administration (with regards to surveillance of citizens)?

    Is the purpose of government surveillance really to protect Americans or is it only to protect the politician in office?

  7. Never heard of you? Not surprising. When we have a “reality based community” and separate, how to put this?, “other-criteria based communities”, those who are unencumbered by those silly “facts” don’t want to hear from people who deal in them.

    People who operate in a version of the world where al Qaeda, as a religious fundamentalist group, would be actively, closely collaborating with a secular Ba’athist regime, clearly are people who don’t want to be bothered hearing ideas from folks who point out the absurdity of such a proposition.

    Remember, these folks’ job was to “serve at the pleasure of the president”, as so many of them (like Monica Goodling) put it. Their job was NOT to examine all the available information, weigh conflicting interests and attempt to chart the course that would best serve the American people and the world. Your ideas and observations were simply obstacles to their goal of merely serving the will (and whims) of the then president.

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