Allegations that the CIA may have been spying illegally on someone right next door have prompted Livingston County Democrats to call for an investigation into the matter.
The party's executive committee on Thursday urged U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers to have the House Intelligence Committee look into whether George W. Bush's White House pressured the CIA to spy illegally on Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan. The resolution was prompted by reports in The New York Times and the Detroit Free Press that came from a retired CIA counter-terrorism official who said the White House wanted to dig up dirt on Cole to discredit him because he was critical of the Iraq War. Federal law bars the CIA from spying on an American citizen while in this country.
Cole teaches history at the University of Michigan with an emphasis on the relationship between the Muslim world and the West. In 2002 he began his Informed Comment blog for commenting on Middle Eastern and American politics. He also has appeared many times on television and been interviewed by the press.
The U.S. Senate's Intelligence Committee has agreed to look into whether Cole was spied upon, but Rogers has only said that it was up to the Justice Department to handle it.
This matter hits pretty close to home. Ann Arbor is only 25 miles from Mike Rogers' hometown. Many of his constituents go to school or work in Ann Arbor. Shouldn't he be worried about illegal spying taking place in his own backyard?