Wilson: White House Needs to 'Come Clean' -- 4.9.06

ByABC News
April 9, 2006, 11:12 AM

April 9, 2006 — -- In an exclusive interview on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," former U.S. ambassador Joe Wilson called upon the White House to "come clean" and release the transcripts of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's interviews with President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the CIA leak investigation.

Wilson, whose wife's secret employment by the CIA was revealed following the leak of classified intelligence information, insisted, "I think it is long past time for the White House to come clean on all of this."

When asked whether or not Wilson and Valerie Plame, his wife, intend to file a civil suit against the White House, the former ambassador replied, "We're holding keeping all options open at this point."

White House press secretary Scott McClellan at a press conference on Friday was barraged by questions about a court filing in the CIA leak case in which Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, told prosecutors that he was authorized by President Bush to leak classified information to rebut charges made by Wilson.

Following are excerpts of Wilson's interview with Stephanopoulous:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That court filing also says that government documents -- this is a quote -- "could be characterized as reflecting a plan to discredit, punish or seek revenge against Mr. Wilson." Do you now believe President Bush was part of that plan?

JOSEPH WILSON: I have no idea, but I think the court documents reflect accurately the situation. After all, four months before the State of the Union address, both the Senate and the White House were advised that there was nothing to this charge [that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium in Niger] that was later in the State of the Union address. Indeed, in January, it was reported today that the national intelligence officer, speaking on behalf of the intelligence community, sent a memo to the U.S. -- the rest of the U.S. government, including the White House -- saying that this charge is baseless and should be dropped. On July 7, the day after my article [rebutting the State of the Union claim] appeared in The New York Times, the White House said to the press, the 16 words did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address. That was the day before Mr. Libby embarked upon this campaign to further the disinformation that was launched in the president's State of the Union address, and to smear me, which ultimately led to the compromise of the identity of my wife.