Ret’d. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to “Get” Cole

Eminent National Security correspondent at the New York Times James Risen has been told by a retired former official of the Central Intelligence Agency that the Bush White House repeatedly asked the CIA to spy on me with a view to discovering “damaging” information with which to discredit my reputation. Glenn Carle says he was called into the office of his superior, David Low, in 2005 and was asked of me, “ ‘What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?’ ”

Low actually wrote up a brief attempt in this direction and submitted it to the White House but Carle says he intercepted it. Carle later discovered that yet another young analyst had been tasked with looking into me.

It seems to me clear that the Bush White House was upset by my blogging of the Iraq War, in which I was using Arabic and other primary sources, and which contradicted the propaganda efforts of the administration attempting to make the enterprise look like a wild shining success.

Carle’s revelations come as a visceral shock. You had thought that with all the shennanigans of the CIA against anti-Vietnam war protesters and then Nixon’s use of the agency against critics like Daniel Ellsberg, that the Company and successive White Houses would have learned that the agency had no business spying on American citizens.

I believe Carle’s insider account and discount the glib denials of people like Low. Carle is taking a substantial risk in making all this public. I hope that the Senate and House Intelligence Committees will immediately launch an investigation of this clear violation of the law by the Bush White House and by the CIA officials concerned. Like Mr. Carle, I am dismayed at how easy it seems to have been for corrupt WH officials to suborn CIA personnel into activities that had nothing to do with national security abroad and everything to do with silencing domestic critics. This effort was yet another attempt to gut the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, in this case as part of an effort to gut the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

I should point out that my blog was begun in 2002 with an eye toward analyzing open source information on the struggle against al-Qaeda. In 2003 I also began reporting on the unfolding Iraq War. My goal was to help inform the public and to present sources and analysis on the basis of my expertise as a Middle East and South Asia expert. In 2003-2005 and after I on a few occasions was asked to speak to military and intelligence professionals, most often as part of an inter-agency audience, and I presented to them in person distillations of my research. I never had a direct contract with the CIA, but some of the think tanks that every once in a while asked me to speak were clearly letting analysts and field officers know about the presentations (which were most often academic panels of a sort that would be mounted at any academic conference), and they attended. I should underline that these presentations involved small travel expenses and a small honorarium, and that I wasn’t a high-paid consultant but clearly was expected to speak my views and share my conclusions frankly. It was not a regular gig. Apparently one of the purposes of spying on me to discredit me, from the point of view of the Bush White House, was ironically to discourage Washington think tanks from inviting me to speak to the analysts, not only of the CIA but also the State Department Intelligence and Research and other officials concerned with counter-terrorism and with Iraq.

It seemed likely to some colleagues, according to what they told me, that the Bush administration had in fact succeeded in having me blackballed, since the invitations rather dropped off, and panels of a sort I had earlier participated in were being held without my presence. I do not know if smear tactics were used to produce this result, behind the scenes and within the government. It was all the same to me– I continued to provide what I believe was an important service to the Republic at my blog and I know for a fact that not only intelligence analysts but members of the Bush team continued to read some of what I wrote.

What alarms me most of all in the nakedly illegal deployment of the CIA against an academic for the explicit purpose of destroying his reputation for political purposes is that I know I am a relatively small fish and it seems to me rather likely that I was not the only target of the baleful team at the White House. After the Valerie Plame affair, it seemed clear that there was nothing those people wouldn’t stoop to. You wonder how many critics were effectively “destroyed.” It is sad that a politics of personal destruction was the response by the Bush White House to an attempt of a citizen to reason in public about a matter of great public interest. They have brought great shame upon the traditions of the White House, which go back to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, who had hoped that checks and balances would forestall such abuses of power.

Posted in Iraq War | 127 Responses | Print |

127 Responses

    • consider yourself lucky
      remember danny casolaro and chip TATUM

    • Now you know somewht of what king malcom an other blacks have gone thoru all along for 300 yrs

  1. Dr. Cole

    Thank you for your service to our country. I will be calling my congressmen and women tomorrow to let them know what I think about the CIA and Bush White House spying on americans.

    • And successfully “blackballing” the American public’s access to critical information and well educated views

    • Because, of course, allegation whether founded, proven or not, is enough for you to take decisive action. Are you doing the same about influence peddling and spying and retaliations from the current President?

  2. Sadly, this isn’t surprising… especially in light of testimony from military officers working in the military intelligence offices who were “overwhelmed” by operatives from VP Cheney’s office and forced into having their views “laundered”– or to resign. ^..^

  3. As I have written many times, pols are usually pols; Republicans in our era are not interested in truth. They and most Dems are interested in power, as unbridled as possible, as Obama is in doing as he wishes in Yemen and in building the new “secret” base in the Middle East.

  4. Juan:

    With all due respect, I am shocked (shocked!) that you are “shocked” that the USG and its intelligence services would refrain from engaging in exactly the kinds of activities described by Carle. After all, the USG has a very different definition of what constitutes the “national security” than you, or many other Americans do. As you know, the American people are the most heavily propagandized domestic population on earth, and for good reason. Anyone who’s not serving the Government’s mission is to be marginalized one way or another.

    Frankly, and I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I would not be surprised if this type of activity played at least some small part in the Yale process. Perhaps I’m I’m wrong, but I’m just saying…

    In any event, it was Yale’s loss.

    • @Ernest Fuentes

      “As you know, the American people are the most heavily propagandized domestic population on earth, and for good reason.”

      Have you ever heard of a little place called North Korea? What about Iran? China? Cuba?

  5. This is appalling behaviour. I hope Americans protest strongly against this abuse of free speech. Thank you for the blog Juan, I’ve learnt so much reading it

  6. Juan is a patriot. They set out to ruin him and undoubtedly did damage. It sure does shed new light on Yale. The CIA and Yale go way back.

    Most of us who were reading Juan back then are probably not surprised that the WH (Cheney’s goons?) would be upset by his writings and would want to silence him. He posts were amazing, incredibly sourced and rock-solid. The rickety structure of lies the WH cobbled together could not withstand Juan’s posts. It came crashing down.

    This is what one would expect of the old Soviet Union, and not what we want in America. I hope Juan finds a way to vindicate his rights and to hold the govt. accountable. That’s the only way to preserve those rights.

  7. Juan is a patriot. They set out to ruin him and undoubtedly did damage. It sure does shed new light on Yale. The CIA and Yale go way back.

    Most of us who were reading Juan back then are probably not surprised that the WH (Cheney’s goons?) would be upset by his writings and would want to silence him. He posts were amazing, incredibly sourced and rock-solid. The rickety structure of lies the WH cobbled together could not withstand Juan’s posts. It came crashing down.

    I hope Juan finds a way to vindicate his rights and to hold the govt. accountable. That’s the only way to preserve those rights.

  8. Something you said about John Tyner and his treatment at the hands of the TSA some months back:

    “Don’t submit to the police state, and we’ll come after you. This isn’t a punishment for Tyner, it is a message to everyone else”

    It’s time to recognize what most of us are–dissidents. The less anonymous, the higher the profile, the more hostile/adversarial to permanent state power (regardless of superficial differences between elected officials) you are…

    And note that Ellsberg recently said:

    “Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, would feel vindicated that all the crimes he committed against me–which forced his resignation facing impeachment–are now legal. ” (Thanks to the Patriot Act and other laws passed in recent years.) And he says all presidents since Nixon have violated the constitution, most recently President Obama, with the bombing of Libya.”

  9. I’m reminded of what Paul Newman once said,

    “It was one of my life’s proudest achievements.”

    “More than the films, more than the awards — finding out that I was on Nixon’s Enemies List meant that I was doing something right.”

    Thank for your service.

  10. Business as usual. Those (i.e., the USG) who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    I am not surprised at all.

    Unfortunately the current Administration, instead of being a wellspring of hope, seems to have embraced most of the worst aspects of Bush’s policy.

    We need to have a post GWOT house cleaning much like the mid-1970s or a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” domestically and internationally.

    • Doesn’t Congress have enough to whitewash/ignore already?

  11. Hey — you’re FAMOUS! Way to go! In the best American new tradition, does that mean you get your own reality TV show (sic, so very sic)?

  12. This is more egregious than trying to silence a war protester. Your blog was a more credible source of information than anything else (not hyperbole), and the Bush admin was trying to prevent a free press in the truest sense of the word.

    There should be an investigation, followed of course by trials, conviction and pardon.

  13. Those who post comments saying “Ho hum, what’s new?” do us all a disservice. If we do not get outraged by this, what will it take?

    OTOH it’s clear that a story like this would have had more impact in 2005 than it does now. The US is in a steep descent towards Fascism.

    Prof JC, I hope you can see the silver lining on this cloud: this is a chance for you to make your voice heard loud and clear! You might even get invited to speak at Yale! :=)

  14. Sadly, I am not surprised but I am deeply saddened and furious. Were you really surprised at this behavior? I too wonder how many others were targeted?
    I will call my Congressional representative to strongly protest. Professor, thank you for all your valuable and essential services to the republic.

  15. What about the bit in NY Times article suggesting that you were denied an appointment at Yale because of campaigning by conservative critics? Any truth to it? How far did you get in the process before you were turned down?

  16. I shall now faithfully read your blog. Thanks to the NYT for pointing me in your direction.

  17. Whoa makes sense. The Bush administration went after so many individuals who were criticizing the invasion based on the validity of the so called intelligence. Wilson, Plame, Scott Ritter, So disgusting and criminal that they went after those questioning the intelligence, sources, agenda.

    Have been politely hammering the Diane Rehm show, Talk of the Nation, Chris Matthews and other MSM outlets to have Professor Juan Cole on their programs. Cole was being blackballed. Investigation indeed.

    Have sent this story out to Huffington Post, Emptywheel over at Firedoglake, Chris Matthews, the Diane Rehm show. Lets get Cole on these programs…maybe now they will be interested.

    Thank you Prof Cole for your devoted attempt to informing the American public

    • Sent story to some more outlets. Rachel Maddow, Dylan Ratigan, BBC, Race for Iran. Get this critical story even further than the Bloody New York Times. The NYT thinks they can redeem themselves for their false pre war so called reporting by throwing the public stories like this. The only way for them to get close to redeeming themselves for allowing Judy “I was fucking right” Millers false and deadly reporting. Is by reporting about the facts on the ground in Iran and the Israeli Palestinian conflict and stop carrying water for Israel and the I lobby.

      • All our established media is pure garbage – how else can one even hope to explain the fools getting elected year after year?

        Here’s the main purpose of the NYTimes and the rest: keep generating safe perspectives on recent events, keep eyeballs and minds occupied for the day, offer enough truth to seem respectable (albeit only on subjects that don’t go counter to the paper’s respective special interests).

        Websites like this one are the only hope citizens have of getting unbiased truth. Old-school newspapers, politicians and TV only ever offer one bias against another, which is why we never move forward on anything: the unbiased truth is never allowed.

        For those who might be interested, I have a write-up on my recent experiences with the NYTimes and others on Israel in the US:

  18. Also want to alert you to that I had a very difficult time getting here this morning through google via Mondoweiss. Tried for about 30 minutes different routes. Just got through. Others may be having troubles

  19. Professor Cole,

    I have been a long time reader of your blog and looked to your analysis throughout the Bush Regime especially. I am glad they did not achieve their goal in trying to discredit you. They can never accomplish what you have. Cheaters always cheat. You have integrity and truth on your side, two things those in the Bush years did not have and never will have. Take pride in the fact that many people who you do not even know, support you.
    Thank you for all of your work. Interesting how this comes out just days after the anniversary of the release of the Pentagon Papers and the free viewing of Daniel Ellsbergs “Most Dangerous Man in America” was aired free online.

  20. I too am shocked that you are shocked. I would expect no less from the Bush administration with their lies, cover ups and illegal activities. The administration of Rove and Cheney was a criminal enterprise. With the Obama administration doing nothing to hold them accountable, they give future presidents the green light that their behavior is and was acceptable.

  21. Thank you for your contributions to revealing truth in times of war and the propaganda machine.

    Thanks also to Mr. Carle who is putting himself on the front line to protect our democracy.

    This should be loudly and fully investigated.

    Using the CIA for domestic political operations strikes a new low in Bush political revelations, and reeks to high heaven.

  22. . . . I have called my Congressman to demand an investigation as well.

  23. President Obama’s spokesman said yesterday that he did not need the Congress’ permission or affirmation to carry on the “whatever you call it” in Libya. By this he means to say that the president has the authority and power to order the killing of anyone, anywhere in the world who he deems to be a threat to the interest of the USA. And, he said further, that we should all be quiet about it lest anyone doubt that he would do it.

    Paul Craig Roberts, a former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Reagan administration and a staunch conservative, has written often to point out the fact that we are living in a police state where the government is no longer obeying the law or the constitution.

    This is where my real (disappointment is too weak a word) with President Obama lies – not the politics of budgets and policies, but in the violation of law and the Constitution. As you point out, in this regard we are still back in Nixon time, and even Nixon did not have such contempt for the law as our current and former presidents.

    You should be happy that they are not yet at the point where they feel safe showing up at the door of a professor at the University of Michigan and shooting him in the head. There are others who are not so privileged.

  24. Dear Juan, Congratulations! Chal would have been jealous; people were always asking him whether he was on a ‘no-fly’ list, and his reply was that he no longer traveled and so didn’t know. I imagine Bush wasn’t looking into Chal’s past because the CIA had once given him a Q-clearance. But their attempt to dig up dirt about you is in the same league with the Nixon enemies list and ought to lead to a thorough Congressional investigation. Best regards, Sheila

  25. Juan Cole: “You had thought that with all the shennanigans of the CIA against anti-Vietnam war protesters and then Nixon’s use of the agency against critics like Daniel Ellsberg, that the Company and successive White Houses would have learned that the agency had no business spying on American citizens.”

    Actually, no, I wouldn’t have thought so: Secrecy and unaccountability systematically lead to that kind of abuses.

  26. This is a testament of your worth, Mr. Cole. As the saying goes: “He who tells the truth gets chased out of nine villages.”

    I admire your honest, forthright and tenacious approach to reporting, especially when I do not agree with you. Thank you for your service.

  27. We can either continue to put up with these gross miscarriages of the public trust, the extreme levels of corruption and illegality, or you can pick up a rifle, join up with a few hundred thousand like minded friends and correct the entire system.
    Drag them all out into the streets, all 536 of them, and put an end once and for all to these cabals, these juntas, these corrupt politicians.
    Revolt, finally, or shut the hell up and take it.

    • Problem is, the sort of “like-minded” people who would use guns at this moment are the sort who want to kill all the queers, enslave all the immigrants, and impose religious law. The ones who have the most experience at using and justifying violence are mostly the ones who back the bad causes that have plagued America since its beginnings. The ones who are driven to anger by the Medievalization of America can’t compete. And if they did the media would denounce them as terrorists, not those other guys.

  28. Unfortunately, nothing will be done. The environment in the White House has been clear from the start, i.e., look forward, not backwards — even investigations into Bush era war crimes were taken off the table by Obama. Congress is corrupt and no better.

  29. Anyone care to start a betting pool as to how long it will be before noted Middle East authority Jonah Goldberg or anyone at the National Review will deign to comment on this?

  30. “I hope that the Senate and House Intelligence Committees will immediately launch an investigation of this clear violation of the law by the Bush White House and by the CIA officials concerned.” -J. Cole

    I wouldn’t hold my breath. That would be looking backward and not forward. The same with torturers.

  31. I agree with Patrick and Daniel: this calls for a Congressional investigation, and I have already contacted my congresswoman’s office to push for one. This is a matter that should concern any academic who has spoken from a position of knowledge and expertise in opposition to any administration’s policies.

    I think Professor Cole should also consult a lawyer.

  32. Thanks for your service.

    As I’m sure your well aware if any shady and pasty punks appear in your office wearing pimping outfits and ask you to forward photos of your privates ask them to move along.

    Of course your a target of “friendly” western intelligence. This is to your credit.

  33. Groups, any groups, but especially politically determined ones, have little/no tolerance for dissenters. ANY GROUPS.

    The record of whistle-blowers, for example, in ANY setting, ever being adopted by any organization again, is nil. Yes, they be brought on as a loose affiliate by some Public Citizens group, or invited to speak to business schools on matters of ethics, but their attitude (and yours, with all due respect), makes them persona non grata to any group requiring team players. It is the exceeding rare manager, who has any career aspiration, that would hire someone who has proven they have what it takes to not only resist managerial control, much less to buck the system in general.

    Michael Schauer, the CIA analyst who wrote Imperial Hubris, strikes me as nothing if not a patriot and team player, and was evidently valued a great deal while working with The Team. That would’ve included developing alternative opinions and going against conventional wisdom, and guys like him you’d undoubtably respect the thinking of at the conferences you’d both attend. But at the end of the day, guys like him would have then (before going rogue)filed
    their opinions/reports and doneas told or directed by their masters. That’s called being a Team Player. And if you aren’t ON the team, and exercise any ability to sway thinking people to some other perspective, you are a danger.

    Ironically, it’d is thinking people, who tend to acquire influence, that respect your thinking and that of guys like Schauer, because of the truth, or even just honest contrasting perspective it provides. But you’d be equally dangerous to them, ultimately, being unmanageble.

    The folks in the Cheney White House, and those in Obama’s, are no different in being proven team players. Their bona fides have been tested and proven over decades before getting their little cubby-hole in the administration. And a guy like you, is potentially a threat, even if at any one moment you are saying things that support them. The point is you are fundamentally unmanageable.

    Give a prayer of thanks to the concept of tenure to the extent it now holds. To the rest of us, WHEREEVER we fit in the world, the above is a reality of negotiating our way through society.

  34. Do we have any reason to believe that this practice is not continuing, say, with respect to critics of the treatment of Bradley Manning?

  35. Another thought, perhaps more positive, and consistent with other remarks here…..

    The fact you show up on the radar of those in power, as someone to be somehow managed, should be taken as a compliment.

    The fact you are able to do so, with nothing more than a blog (well, there is the lifetime of preparation before launching it….), is a tribute to the notion of intellectual leverage.

    The trim-tab effect, where you can potentially exercise enoromous influence by being read by any 100 thinking people with power or influence, is astounding.

    Take this, amongst other things naturally, as a compliment and endorsement for what you’re doing.

    Never knew Paul Newman was on Nixon’s enemies list….

  36. “They’re selling postcards of the hanging,
    They’re painting the passports brown,
    The beauty parlor is filled with sailors,
    The circus is in town.

    At midnight, all the agents
    And the superhuman crew
    Go out and round up everyone
    Who knows more than they do…”

    [B. Dylan, “Desolation Row”]

  37. That you elicited a Stalinesque response from the Bush WH is a testament to the power of your thoughts and words. They were on constant alert that the lies they used to launch the Iraq War would be exposed. They were terrified of the truths you spoke. You were apparently shaking their confidence, perhaps more than you ever imagined. More power to you Prof. Cole!

  38. Entirely plausible. The VPs office around that time brought pressure to bear against a relative of mine who was then, in a DC-based magazine, writing a column critical of the Iraq war and the government’s policies.

  39. It was clear to those of us who were observing at the time that the Whitehouse did not want anyone with actual expertise in the Middle East driving the narrative. That, perhaps, is unurprising. What was most dismaying, though, was discovering that the news media was singularly un-intersted in having people with actual expertise in the Middle East drive the narrative. Instead of area specialists like Mr. Cole on TV new programs and talk shows, we got a string of self-styled “terrorism experts” lecturing us about the “threat” that Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed to the Western world.

    So I’mturn as to whether the revelation of these secret illegalities is more outrageous than the things we all saw with our own eyes, and which were no secret at all.

  40. Sounds like one of those conspiracies that just might be legit.

  41. I’m terribly sorry Juan but the House and/or Senate investigating this? I almost sprayed my latte all over my keyboard and screen. See, “we need to look forward, not backward”. Didn’t you get dur Fuhrer’s, err, the President’s memo? That would be the “Democratic” President, not the guilty party before at that! There will be no investigations by anyone in government until some point in the future, like the re-examination of what/how the Spanish-American War got started…WELL after all involved were dead and buried.

  42. Congratulations. I cannot think of a higher honor that being designated an enemy of this state.

  43. Thank you Dr. Cole for being the voice of reason and for putting up with all the defamation and smear. But there is still a plethora of unresolved issues like e.g. curveball, yellow cake etc. that need to be investigated by a congressional commission. Too many people have died in this war. We need to know why.

  44. Remember when Nixon used the FBI to investigate CBS reporter Daniel Schorr? All of his neighbors were being questioned by FBI agents about Schorr’s personal activities. Nixon’s spokesman later claimed that it was all because Schorr was being considered for a high level position in his Administration.

    Maybe Bush just really admired Professor Cole and was considering making him a job offer.

  45. Very sorry to learn of this, and I am ever sorrier to say that I am not surprised.

  46. Your surveillance is a badge of honor, Juan. But it’s also a frightening demonstration of how much Washington’s policies of permanent war have eroded what remains of the American Republic’s constitutional liberties.

  47. Presumably, Carle is now firmly in the crosshairs yet his credibility seems high given NYT’s report of statements from Gordon and Low. And I think it all validates the voracity of your own ongoing commentary. Perhaps you are a bigger fish than you realize…

  48. I am sure that many readers will want to assist in the effort to get to the bottom of this. I hope that Juan will give us guidance for a write in campaign as to whom we should address our shared outrage. A Yale University address would be appreciated as well.

  49. Disgusting. Aside from the abuse of power, the thing that is just so hard to swallow is that Engaging the Muslim World is actually a pretty balanced book that advocates views (and possibly strategies) that would have been far more productive between the US and the middle east. Instead, what we see through Wiklileaks and other sources was that the cloak of US secrecy was used not to cover some fiendishly clever US political meanuevering, but hamfisted and dull-witted foreign policies that would obviously lead nowhere except down.

  50. But,but,but, we must look forward not backward!
    With the blind eyes turned by this administration on lying to get us to invade Iraq, torture, killing of prisoners,illegal spying on all of us etc. etc.
    As much as I would welcome an investigation, I’m not holding my breath.

  51. Here we see the efficacy of time and social intelligence to self-correct synthetic cultural memetics by the power
    of ‘negative feedback’, in which fresh evidence and information cancels out packets of false data earlier injected into the propaganda stream with malicious intent of deception through falsification and omission.

  52. Dear Juan,
    Just got finished reading the article in the NY Times and I must say that I am not surprised that the clan akin to the criminogenic George Bush acted the way that they did. The Iraq War has been a shuck and jive of vanity. Anything critical of the foreign policy that favors the “oilies” over the needs of humanity was a crime in the eyes of that Administration. My question is has there been a change of policy under this Administration?
    I’ve been reading Informed Comment since its inception and it has always been painfully frank about the ongoing policy failures that only alienate the Arab world.You know, the ‘We need to wage war to steal your oil so we can accelerate global warming thus fulfilling the family annihilator fantisies of our economic,political,and spiritual leaders’ policy that we have so successfully pursued.

  53. There should be an investigation into this.

    But it is only a tribute to the impact that you are perceived to have in Washington.

  54. What’s frightening are the echoes of this kind of behavior recently detailed in the Sarah Palin email dump covering her Alaska administration from December 2006 to September 2008:

    link to

    See notable names @ link to

    And even more echoes in the behavior of the extremists recently elected in the totalitarian Republic of Wisconsin.

  55. I am so angry! The word ‘livid’ comes to mind. And “seeing red.”
    We must get to the bottom of this, no matter high up it goes.
    P.S. I can’t help but wonder whether “Pricky Dick” Cheney and his trusty Scooter might have been involved.

  56. Why are President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder afraid to investigate and prosecute these Bush gangsters?

    Cluck, cluck, cluck…

  57. Keep reading that Risen story. The CIA denies the story as well.

  58. Congress needs to investigate, but since the GOP is in control, don’t count on it. Let’s see how much attention this gets in the MSM. I’m not counting on that either.

  59. Well done. You know you must be doing
    something correct, if they’re out to get you.

  60. Thank you for years of sanity and solid information. You are a true patriot and history will make that clear.

  61. None of this is shocking, Dr. Cole. The fact that Bush and Cheney are still not in prison is the proof that US criminal justice system has a long way to go.

    And, btw, would you have accepted Yale’s offer, had they made one? Isn’t that the place where low academic achiever kids of rich and famous go to?

  62. Dr. Cole, I’ve followed your blog since at least 2004. I admire your insight and independent perspective even if I may disagree at times. It is critical as a republic that we have free and unfettered discussion on important matters of our time – war and peace.

    Other readers might not be aware that this CIA/White House smear on you largely coincided with other attempts by Cheney et al.

    It likely was also coordinated with the attacks you endured when you considered transferring to Yale. For what its worth U. Michigan kept a great professor.

    Keep up the insightful work.

  63. You mean… Republicans were abusing power?

    No way! That couldn’t possible have happened. The Republicans stand for the rule of law and justice and freedom. Why, if a Republican were to do something like that surely he would resign quicker than a Congressman with his wiener on Twitter.

  64. All Kidding aside, please don’t just let this go. The Bush administration was rife with criminals going all the way to the top. Hell, his AG Gonzales admitted on television that they violated FISA (a federal law having a penalty of 5 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines per occurring). Even if you don’t count the torture and eavesdropping, that alone is a violation of federal law.

    And nobody is actively looking at it. They’ll cite the budget, or the wars, or that we should be looking forward instead of backwards. Ultimately nobody is going to get punished which means that the legal precedents set by Bush are going to linger like land mines waiting for some future President to force us to step on them.

    Unless people like you, who appear to have proof of what the administration was actually doing, step forward and be heard. Call your Congressmen. Call your Senator. Start talking to the local newspapers. People need to hear about this and know about this and hopefully be outraged enough by this to actually call for justice.

  65. The irony here is that the public officials involved were working against their own best interest. Getting the best information you can will give you the best chance of achieving what you seek to achieve. Making it look like we’re winning when we aren’t is a losing strategy; sooner or later you can’t hide the facts any more, and then you look worse. Remember Nasser’s strategy in 1967, when the Egyptian media all announced that the Israelis had been completely defeated…. Why do people do these things? You’d think an unscrupulous pol would be smarter than that…

    • The bigger the risks you take, the shorter your time horizon gets. To the point where you’ll say any lie just to look like a winner for the next five minutes.

  66. You may well be dismayed, Professor Cole, but I doubt if you’re surprised.

  67. Hah. If the pig squealed, you must have stuck it in the right spot. This is a badge of honor.

    See you in the gulag someday!

  68. BTW, the power budget for the NSA’s new Utah surveillance center is 68 Megawatts, according to information which surfaced in the press last year. 68 megawatts makes for a lot of snooping, legal and otherwise.

    link to

  69. Holy shi!!!

    Well, all I can say is “job well done.”

    Like Daniel Schorr getting put on Nixon’s “enemies list,” the fact that the Bushies were so paranoid and put off by your writings underscores that you nailed the truth. Wear it like a badge of honor for speaking truth to power.

    Let’s hope there’s a congressional investigation to lay bare the facts – which I do hope your lawyers can put to good use in a civil lawsuit on your behalf.

  70. Hi Dr. Cole,

    Please rest assured your reputation remains entirely intact, and is actually higher than ever, while those of former President George W. Bush and his minions lie in tatters in the dustbin of history. You should appreciate, as Bart Simpson says, that “delicious ironing.”

    Have a nice day!

  71. wear it like a badge and see if you can use it to force an investigation.

  72. Juan, I hope you pursue this. I’ve posted in solidarity at the MEI Editor’s Blog. IT’s outrageous, and I remember the Nixon era.

    Michael Dunn

  73. Many of the thugs that worked for Nixon and Reagan ended up in the Bush 43 White House, and brought their former employers’ contempt for the rule of law with them.

    The sad fact that the Obama White House hasn’t ‘cleaned house’ in any meaningful way since taking office is beyond disappointing. Patriot Act? Illegal spying on Americans? Wasting blood and treasure overseas? People who say this is Bush’s third term aren’t nearly wrong enough…

  74. It is not a matter of shame for you to be in the company of Daniel Schorr (wikipedia: “Schorr attracted the anger of the Nixon White House. In 1971, after a dispute with White House aides, Schorr’s friends, neighbors, and co-workers were questioned by the FBI about his habits. They were told that Schorr was under consideration for a high-level position in the environmental area. Schorr knew nothing about it. Later, during the Watergate hearings, it was revealed that Nixon aides had drawn up what became known as Nixon’s Enemies List, and Daniel Schorr was on that list. Famously, Schorr read the list aloud on live TV, surprised to be reading his own name in that context.[6]
    And you are evidently also in company with Daniel Ellsberg: ).
    Rather, it is a badge of honor for you. The shame that surrounded Nixon as he became an aging, discredited ex-President should also surround Bush II and those under him who broke so many laws, both U.S. and moral.

  75. If I were you, I would wear this as a badge of honor, as others have implied.

  76. Keep up the good fight Mr. Juan Cole. I would call my Congressman Larry Bucshon, but since I’m not a business man and don’t hate the Federal government, I doubt it would help. And he’s probably not a fan of yours anyway.

  77. Was it Ari Fleischer that said that we should watch what we say?

    Anti-American, anti-Israel? Amazing. The Neocons wanted a US army between Israel and Iran and the oil guys wanted to denationalize the Iraqi oil fields. Anyone who saw through the quasi patriotic kill Saddam propaganda could figure that out. Most people didn’t bother.

    I always scratch my head and wonder when anyone in the media speaks in hushed tones about our soldiers protecting our freedom or freedoms when in fact they were unfortunate pawns caught up in the middle of this horrible mess.

    It was very brave for Professor Cole to point out the BS, he was bad for their business (and politics). Pointing out the BS was a much better way of protecting our freedom.

  78. Juan, You complain about the agency spying on an American citizen, but can you produce your long form?

  79. Juanito!

    You and I were at UCLA together.

    John Galbraith would be very proud of you.

    No worries!

  80. Dear Professor Cole,

    As others will no doubt comment, I think it’s more of a feather in your cap. The easiest way to destroy your reputation is to show that you were considered a friend by the neo-cons. Keep up the good work, professor!

  81. The present power elite, all told and considered, believes in Mideast intervention more than it believed then in the Vietnam War or the domino theory, so what surprises Prof Cole does not surprise me.

  82. Mr. Cole,

    I find it funny, to a point, that if it wasn’t for the CIA and reading the NY Times article this morning, I wouldn’t have learned about you. I have read a few of your comments, regarding the Mideast, and find them very informative. Keep up the fantastic writing. BD

  83. Who’s to say this only went on during the Bush administration?

    Also, if they go after Juan Cole, it’s impossible to imagine they aren’t going after someone like Glenn Greenwald. (Corporations already have.)

  84. This should be investigated. And it is apparent that you were indeed speaking uncomfortable truths, as far as the Bush administration was concerned.

  85. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison have nothing on you Mr. Cole, you must have hit the truth button too many times for comfort

  86. As always, brother, you make me proud. By all means, continue to be sand in the eye of Big Brother.

  87. Sounds to me like DCI Leon Panetta’s parting shot, making it look like the Agency is at least attempting to stop unwarranted acts against resident American citizens that any White House wants.

    Carle must have been given the green light to make his disclosures to Risen – what was intended to show without any risk of reprisals that the Agency, like NSA in the Thomas Drake case, does tolerate whistleblowing when it is merited. The only difference is that Cole doesn’t work for the government.

    Just makes one wonder whatelse the Agency has been doing that few are willing to discuss.

  88. Dr. Cole,

    All I can offer to you is my thanks and eternal support for your crusade of enlightenment and free education, to those who take the time to read and think.

    Regarding the CIA incident, I beg you, BEG you to please hound and harass them with every bit of strength you have regarding this outrageous and flagrent breach of everything that is right and good, not to mention legal.

    If “they” are trying to send a message of ‘stealth intimidation’ to good, honourable, morally correct and truthful individuals like yourself, you really must (I would even say you have a duty, but you have already gone beyond the call of duty) hit back at them. They have to get the message that this kind of behaviour is totally reprehensible, wrong on an innumerate measure of levels, as well as being destructive to peace, freedom, enlightenment, progress and not to mention REAL security, I mean the kind fostered by understanding and intelligence…

    Please do not let them get away with this. You will prevail against these thugs, and they need to know they can not operate like this without public outrage. Get the word out and chase journalists with your story. As many people as possible need to know about this type of behavior so that great political pressure can be forced onto these out of control security agencies, they need to be made to wind their scheming self serving snake necks in, even if just a little.

    All too many people think this kind of thing never happens. They call people who get worked up about it ‘conspiracy theorists’. Most 30 something year olds and under know nothing about the outrageous things Nixen et al did. This ostrich like attitude towards the unpaletable facts about the administration has to change.

    Best of luck, I will be watching and doing what I can.

  89. This highlights one of my disappointments in President Obama. His “we must move forward” motto may take the high road, but it allows the illegal actions of Bush/Cheney to set a new precedent for crimes not punished. Nixon’s actions seem childlike in comparison.

  90. I am not surprised, but the intimidation of the american people continues and gains momentum and this shocks me. A congressional investigation, while calling attention to the situation, would accomplish nothing. Congress is totally ineffective, unfortunately. We must not stop expressing our views and opinions. The Republican administrations will have succeeded in silencing the masses. This cannot happen!

  91. Thank you for your reasoned and reasonable response to some very unreasonable abrogations of our Constitution, and your rights and academic freedom. By their fruits shall ye know them.

  92. Professor Cole: this clumsy attempted smear will give comfort to those who value your insight and distress to those whose views wilt under close examination. Lovely.

  93. We the Americans are held hostage of am illusion, The illusion of democracy and freedom of press. Our press for majority works for special interest groups and international powers who have paralyzed our government by bribing them financialy and theologically.

    Average American, who send their children to armed forces do not even have a clue to what powers are we working for and which masters we are serving.

  94. According to the CIA’s statement, Professor Cole, you have, in effect, been advising them since at least 2006. There are lots of professors who over the decades have refused to lend their expertise to the U.S. government’s domestic and international government’s political police and spy operations, including the CIA and FBI, whether publicly or privately. Whether or not I agree with their politics, I respect their willingness to take a principled stand.

    • Dear Hy:

      I don’t believe it is unethical to try to keep our intelligence community well informed. They are colleagues and they were trying to disrupt and destroy the al-Qaeda organization that killed nearly 3000 people in New York. If anything I said contributed to a better understanding of that phenomenon and helped defeat it, it would be the proudest and most important thing I ever did.

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