The Senate Intelligence Committee is reviewing whether the CIA and the Bush White House may have tried to smear Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes a popular blog on Middle Eastern issues.
"Depending on what we find, we may take further action," U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who heads the committee, said in a statement.
Cole told the Free Press that the reported spying "was criminal."
"The Bush White House request that the CIA spy on me to discredit me clearly violated the American Constitution, U.S. law, the CIA charter, and my civil and human rights," he said.
As first reported by the New York Times last week, Carle said his supervisor at the CIA asked him: "Does he (Cole) drink? What are his views? Is he married?" And, "What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?"
But a spokesman for the CIA, Preston Golson, told the Free Press last week that: "We've thoroughly researched our records, and any allegation that the CIA provided private or derogatory information on Professor Cole to anyone is simply wrong."