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Michigan Prof Sues FBI and CIA; Claims Bush White House Tried to Smear Reputation

Prof. Juan Cole

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

University of Michigan History Professor Juan Cole wants to take a peak at CIA and FBI files — and for pretty good reason.

Last month, according to the New York Times, former CIA official Glenn Carle said the Bush White House wanted to smear Cole’s reputation and discredit him because he was critical of the administration’s Middle East policies. Cole, who lives in Ann Arbor, writes a blog on Middle East issues.

The CIA’s Carle, according to the Times, said his supervisor asked him: “Does he (Cole) drink? What are his views? Is he married?” And, “What do you think we might know about him, or could find out, that could discredit him?”

Cole asked the CIA and the FBI to look at any of his files, but never got a response, according to the Detroit Free Press.

So on Wednesday, Cole and the American Civil Liberties Union and a University of Michigan professor filed a lawsuit in Detroit federal court,  asking that he see any files relating to any alleged scheme to discredit him, the Free Press reported.

“In a democratic society, the secret police should not be spying on citizens for simply criticizing government policy,” said Michael Steinberg, legal director of the Michigan branch of the ACLU, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reported that the FBI could not be reached for comment and  CIA spokesman Preston Golson said: “The CIA does not, as a rule, comment on pending litigation.”


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