Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rogers Shouldn't Sweep Spying Allegations Under the Rug

News that George Bush and the CIA were up to no good is hardly shocking, but this time the news hits pretty close to home -- just down the road in Ann Arbor.

The Bush administration twice asked the CIA to spy on University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole, a critic of the Iraq War, in order to dicredit his criticism, according to a former CIA official.

Had the CIA actually spied on Cole, that would have been illegal since federal law since the days of Watergate has prohibited the CIA from spying on American citizens.

Cole writes an extremely well-informed blog on the Middle East, titled Informed Comment. He is fluent in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, and lived in parts of the Muslim world for 10 years. He has appeared on numerous network and cable television shows as a commentator and has written books on the Middle East, including Engaging the Muslim World.

But he ran afoul of the Bush administration for daring to criticize the Iraq War.

Since the allegations of the White House trying to use the CIA to spy on American citizens are a crime, Cole believes, rightly so, that Congress should investigate. He has called on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to look into the allegations.

And guess who heads the House Intelligence Committee -- Rep. Mike Rogers. And guess who says he isn't interested in looking into the allegations -- Rep. Mike Rogers.

Rogers needs to reconsider that. Rogers talks a lot about keeping Americans safe. He needs to make sure that American citizens are safe from our own government. Rogers must change his mind and look into whether the CIA did in fact spy on Cole, whether they spied on anyone else, whether the White House received such information and what they did with it.

Rogers has a special obligation to carry out such an investigation, given that Cole is a Michigan resident. Some of Rogers' own constituents may well have studied under him.

For the sake of his own state, Rogers shouldn't sweep this under the rug.

No comments: