Glenn Carle is the author of The Interrogator: An Education (out from Nation Books next month), which tells the story of one of the most secret and sensitive CIA interrogations during the US "war on terror." But sensational as that topic is, that's not why he's been featured in the New York Times or interviewed on CNN.
Carle, a twenty-year veteran of the CIA, told the Times's Jmes Risen that in late 2005, a superior, David Low, at the National Intelligence Council had asked him to gather information on Middle East expert, fierce Iraq War critic, and University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, who runs the influential blog Informed Comment. Convinced that it was illegal to gather personal information on a US citizen for reasons that had nothing to do with national security, Carle refused. But a memo was written, and Carle happened to see it. He took it to David Gordon, then the acting director of the Council, who promised to take care of it. A few months later, Carle discovered that efforts to dig up dirt on Cole had not been abandoned. It clearly was not a one-off request but a matter of policy.
Last Friday, the CNN followed up on the story by interviewing both Carle and the subject of the investigation, Professor Juan Cole, on its show In the Arena (click here for a complete transcript). See an excerpt of the show below:
In his introduction, CNN host Eliot Spitzer said, "Tonight — a story that smacks of the Watergate era, a tale fit for Woodward and Bernstein...explosive allegations that the CIA gathered damaging information on an American college professor on orders from the Bush White House, this because the professor's views were critical of Bush administration policies. Sounds un-American, doesn't it?"
In response to Carle's revelations, Cole said, "And it's just impossible for me to believe that the White House asked the CIA to Google me; that they were just passing along publicly available information. There must have been an implication that they should actively dig up some kind of dirt. And that is illegal and it's extremely troubling."
The same day that CNN interviewed Carle and Cole, MSNBC also followed the story on The Rachel Maddow Show, which showed the cover of Carle's forthcoming book, The Interrogator. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) told The Lookout that the Senate Intelligence Committee would look into the allegations and "may take further action." And just this morning, Carle was interviewed on NPR's The Takeaway. Carle will also be interviewed by MSNBC's Martin Bashir this afternoon.