[Carle] said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole ... 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. ... It is not clear whether the White House received any damaging material about Professor Cole or whether the C.I.A. or other intelligence agencies ever provided any information or spied on him.There is no corroboration for this story.
Intelligence officials disputed Mr. Carle’s account, saying that White House officials did ask about Professor Cole in 2006, but only to find out why he had been invited to C.I.A.-sponsored conferences on the Middle East. The officials said that the White House did not ask for sensitive personal information, and that the agency did not provide it.The Bush administration had plenty of enemies in the CIA, so this sort of uncorroborated story is highly dubious at best. Naturally the Times would like an anti-Bush story to be true, and happened to leave out an important detail which was brought to my attention by Alana Goodman in Commentary.
There are a few key pieces of information the Times leaves out. One is that Carle’s soon-to-be-released book (which the Times only mentions in passing), is about Carle’s disillusionment with the CIA and the war on terror. ... Sounds like Carle isn’t a big fan of the Bush administration. It might have been helpful for the Times to include that piece of background in its article.Goodman also points out that Cole has no credibility anyway except with leftists, so why would the administration even bother to go to those lengths?
Is it possible that the Bush administration misused the CIA as Carle claims? Sure. But is it likely, given what we know from this story? No. What is more likely that Carle a) is one of the many people who still suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome, b) read way too much into an innocuous request asking why Cole was at that conference, and c) is spinning a fairy tale in an effort to sell books.