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He is many things but "consistent" is what comes to mind when I read him'

Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.

In an interview, Mr. 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. Mr. Carle said he contended at the time that such actions would have been unlawful.

Still speaking truth and ruffling feathers'
Mike McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and now at Stanford University embarrassed himself by answering the question of whether Snowden harmed anyone by saying that he hurt German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s feelings when she found out her personal cell phone was tapped.  Really, Mr. McFaul?  I think we were asking whether any NOCs got their identity revealed by Snowden as Bush-Cheney outed Valerie Plame, or whether any U.S. military personnel were endangered.  Snowden didn’t hurt Angela’s feelings.  The U.S. government did.
Not only was this massive domestic spying operation going on with impunity, but it was carefully hidden from the American public, with brutal and unconstitutional methods.  Poor Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or) got a whiff of some of it, but was forestalled by the [un-] Patriot Act from revealing it, even on the Senate floor.  When sitting senators are being muzzled from discussing a massive U.S. government program with the public, that is no longer a democracy.  Who do they think is paying for their national security state?  And when Wyden asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper whether the NSA was spying on Americans, Clapper told a bald-faced lie.  No, he said.  He lied under oath.  Clinton was impeached for a white lie over oral sex.  Clapper lied to cover up a gargantuan violation of the constitution, but nothing has happened to him.
We can debate till the cows come home about whether Snowden had any other choice but to make his reveal, or had any other avenue to do something about these violations.  Given that Barack Obama was briefed into them and let it go on, the likely answer is no.  For all we know, the intelligence agencies blackmailed him into acquiescence.  We know they spy on the other branches of government for their own purposes.  And if it went to the Tea Party Supreme Court, we have reason to suspect that Mssrs. Scalia and Roberts would be perfectly happy to assign a policeman to every bedroom in the U.S.

But now that Snowden’s revelations are there, the American state faces a profound crisis.  It can either return to constitutional values, or it can continue on its path to American Stalinism.  That so many Americans seem completely undisturbed by what was done makes me think it is too late for democracy.

Never compromise your beliefs for others.


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Comment Preferences

  •  There's No Mechanism for It to Return to Its (8+ / 0-)

    constitutional state.

    It would somehow have to be taken there.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:11:48 PM PDT

  •  Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! (9+ / 0-)

    You mean.....he opposed the surveillance state under Bush AND Obama?????

    He must be a racist Obama hater.

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:20:11 PM PDT

  •  It's certainly odd (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaEscapee, ybruti, poligirl, SpecialKinFlag, FG

    But I don't know what anyone would have hoped to achieve by finding some "derogatory information" on a University of Michigan professor.  It wouldn't have changed my mind about the Iraq war if I found out Professor Cole had a bunch of unpaid parking tickets or something.

    It wouldn't be the first time the CIA did something that didn't make a lot of logical sense, but if the White House was looking to "get" someone, why ask the CIA's counter-terrorism unit?  Surely someone else in the CIA would have been better placed, or better yet someone in the FBI that does domestic counter-intelligence.  Strikes me as pretty odd.

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:39:28 PM PDT

    •  One of the things (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poligirl, blueoasis, janis b, maryabein

      that the Snowden revelations should have taught us all is that the alphabets are interchangeable and laws do not apply to them.

      I'm a Saltine American

      by LaEscapee on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:50:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

        The FBI and CIA have different assets and skill sets, and certainly the CIA's counter-terror analysis unit wouldn't have the right skill set.  The logic doesn't make sense.

        Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

        by Sky Net on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:23:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It seems very much like Cheney/Addington (5+ / 0-)

      freely directed the CIA and NSA with Bush on the sidelines, if Barton Gellman's Angler is anything to go by, but not so much the FBI.  

      The demonic duo seemed to have been extraordinarily adept at framing resource, power, and policy issues in ways that shut out agency lawyers who might quibble about what the law allows.  They preferred Addington to be the only lawyer providing legal counsel as they reconfigured the nation's intelligence and law enforcement apparatus.

      They steamrolled on until the underestimated Jack Goldsmith took the helm at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and began investigating and deconstructing the work of his predecessor, John Yoo.  Goldsmith had the nerve to stand up to Addington - and to Cheney himself - and he had the backing of two other lawyers:

      - Robert Mueller, former federal prosecutor then the director of the FBI, and

      - James Comey, then deputy attorney general and the current director of the FBI.

      Law meant something to those men.  That didn't make them perfect and that didn't make everyone who reported to them perfect either, but it made them a different kind of force than the non-lawyers like George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, and Keith Alexander when it came to going up against Addington and Cheney on what the law allowed.

      If I were Addington or Cheney and wanted some oppo research done on Juan Cole, I'd have gone to my nervous eager-to-please pal George Tenet, with his degree in international affairs and his insider career in the CIA and his guilty conscience for having been long on watch before the towers came down.  

      Much more likely to produce results than going to ex-prosecutor Mueller who became director of the FBI only on July 5, 2001, and was the kind of man who would personally guard a stricken attorney general in a hospital as White House gnats swarmed in to make the AG sign yet another order allowing illegal warrantless surveillance to continue, who would that same week tender his resignation in an effort to bring the president into the discussion about illegal warrantless surveillance despite Cheney's efforts to run that sick show as his own, and who would one night at a chic dinner party in Washington, DC, rise to counter the Villagers' disdainful sentiments about civil liberties by toasting the honor of defense attorneys signing on to represent Guantanamo prisoners.  And it was FBI agents, after all, who effectively challenged Cheney's beloved CIA torture at Guantanamo.  

      Nothing's black and white.  All is shades of gray.  And I think Cheney liked the dove gray of the CIA better than the steel gray of the FBI.  But then there's Glenn Carle - a steel ulna in one wing of that dove.  Tra-lah.  Shades within shades.  

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:29:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to belabor this (0+ / 0-)

        But I don't see how George Tenet having a degree in international relations would make him more likely to conduct domestic spying.  Nor did Tenet have an "insider career" in the CIA.  His first position was as Deputy Director in 1995 and within a year he was acting Director, then Director.  Tenet might have felt bad about not seeing 9/11 coming, but the FBI didn't see it coming either.

        Even if the White House decided to task the CIA with this, why an analysis unit?  And how could one analyst effectively scupper the attempt?

        Plus it's not like FBI is the only alternative.  There are more than a dozen other intel agencies in the government, not to mention private groups that could easily gather information on someone.  An average private investigator could probably do it.

        Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

        by Sky Net on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:51:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I still don't understand his thinking on Libya, (7+ / 0-)

    relative to supporting Obama's decision to bomb the shit out of the country and use Al Qaeda and other terrorists and jihadists to fuck up the country as proxies, like with Syria.  I'm probably missing something though.
    One man's treasure, . . .

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:16:49 PM PDT

  •  In 2011, in an article directed to the new Arab (9+ / 0-)

    democracies, Professor Cole called the U.S. "a twilight democracy" and said:

    It is probably too late for us. The aggregate of changes in US law and practice in favor of corporatocracy and the national security state is so extensive and powerful that our constitution has been overwhelmed....In my lifetime I have seen the American state spiral down into a brutal tyranny that tortures, spies, union-busts, engages in illegal wars, and plays dirty tricks on dissidents. We used to have something much more like a democracy. Maybe we can learn from you how to safeguard something so precious....
    Among the 10 Ways Arab Democracies Can Avoid American Mistakes, he advised compulsory voting and government-run, compulsory voter registration, a ban on campaign advertisements on radio and television, no politicization of the judiciary, protection of unions, strong anti-trust legislation, a bill of rights, and small armies.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:19:51 PM PDT

  •  I would add (4+ / 0-)

    to "never compromise your beliefs for others" ... unless it is for the greater good.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:03:54 PM PDT

  •  Juan Cole merely applies the principles of the... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    rule of law and consistent logic to the fundamental issues of democracy and international relations.

    He is extremely knowledgeable on the facts and relentless in his application of logic to the issue at hand. No sugar-coating, no excuses because the current President is a Democrat.

    God bless 'im, he's a national treasure, trying to hold our feet to the fire.

    My take on this is that our Congressional 'leaders' are almost without exception craven, cowardly frogs in a frying pan who have gradually come to accept an utterly lawless corporate-dominated surveillance state that would make Sam Irwin or Howard Baker (let alone Frank Church) call for impeachment hearings.

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