According to the revelations of a former CIA operative, the Bush White House and the CIA asked officers to spy on university professor, blogger and Salon contributor, Juan Cole in 2005 and 2006. Cole was one of the most outspoken critics of the Iraq war and Bush's fore gin policy. Below is just a short selection of Cole's contributions to Salon in 2005 and 2006; examples of writing allegedly deemed concerning enough for the Bush establishment to invite CIA surveillance.
- Writing in response to the deadly blasts on the London Underground in July 2005, Cole criticized "Bush and Blair's incompetently pursued war on terror." he wrote, "If Americans look closer... they will realize that Bush's incompetent crusade has made the world more dangerous, not less."
- Similarly, Cole skewered the Bush administration when newly elected Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari seemed to be developing close ties with Iran. "All the sorts of contracts and deals that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney had imagined for Halliburton, and that the Pentagon neoconservatives had hoped for Israel, were heading instead due east," Cole noted at the time.
- Then in March 2006, as violence in Iraq was peaking, Cole wrote that "bloody events in Iraq have undermined American authority in that country and in the Middle East more generally."
- He was also fiercely critical of Bush's rhetoric on Iraq. When the president avoided describing the situation there as a "civil war," (a term the Iraqi prime minister employed), Cole emphasized how wrong Bush was.
- Similarly, Cole noted that Saddam Hussein's execution, decreed through what he described as "the bumbling of the U.S.-backed regime," was little more than an act of revenge that turned the dictator into a martyr.
- And Cole broadened his sights beyond Iraq. He wrote scathingly about Bush's approach to Israel and Palestine and was quick to point to the problems with how the then-President responded to Hamas' victory in legislative elections in Gaza in 2006. "How do you like your democracy now, Mr Bush?" Cole wrote.
Evidently, with a voice as influential as Cole's, calling the focal point of an administration's foreign policy "a colossal misadventure" makes waves; the White House and the CIA may not have taken heed of his writing, but -- if recent reports are to be believed -- it certainly caught their attention.