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2004-05-14

Joseph Wilson: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity

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Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson on the outting of his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame; the Bush administration’s lies on Iraq; character assassination; and his time as the acting ambassador to Iraq before the Gulf War when he met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. [includes rush transcript]

Ambassador Joseph Wilson was the last US official to meet with Saddam Hussein before the start of the so-called Gulf War 12 years ago. As the acting US ambassador to Iraq in the weeks leading up to the war, the White House consulted Wilson daily. He was formally commended by the Bush Sr. administration for his bravery and heroism in the weeks leading up to the war. In that time, Wilson helped evacuate thousands of foreigners from Kuwait, negotiated the release of more than 120 American hostages and sheltered nearly 800 Americans in the embassy compound.

But Wilson’s work in Iraq that won him praise from the current president’s father is not what he is now known for. For months, he was at the center of a controversy that could prove to be one of the clearest cases of documentable criminal conduct by an administration since Watergate or the Iran-Contra scandal.

In the months leading up to the invasion, the CIA sent Wilson to investigate whether Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Niger — the White House’s key case that Iraq was rebuilding its nuclear program.

Through his investigation, Wilson found the claim highly unlikely and reported back his findings. Despite this, the Niger-connection became a key piece of the administration’s justification for the war and President Bush included it in his State of the Union address in January.

Seven months later, Wilson went public. In a New York Times Op-Ed he said he had told the CIA long before the president’s January speech that the uranium claims were fraudulent.

A few days after Wilson blew the whistle, conservative columnist Robert Novak wrote a column in which he cited two senior administration officials and stated that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative dealing with weapons of mass destruction. At the time Wilson charged that it was an attempt by the Bush administration to intimidate other whistleblowers from going public.

Wilson has just come out with his memoirs "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity." And as he travels across the country on his book tour, the Bush White House continues to attack him. When Wilson appeared on MSNBC’s ’’Countdown’’ to talk about his book, host Keith Olbermann held up three identical e-mail messages from the White House and explained that the '’talking points'’ they contained were calculated to poke holes in Wilson’s book.

  • Ambassador Joseph Wilson

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Joe Wilson joins us from the Firehouse Studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Delighted to be here, Amy. Sounds like you have a busy schedule.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. I didn’t get these emails from the White House. So —

AMBASSADOR WILSON: What I have said to my friends who have received the emails, the response of the White House should be rather that send notes to journalists who ask questions disputing what I said in my book they would be better off going up and telling the truth to the special counsel. It’s now been six, seven months since the counsel has been in business. Despite the President’s having said he wanted to get to the bottom of this, we haven’t been able to bring the investigation to closure. If they just go up and tell the Special Counsel the truth, that would be a step in the right direction, rather than continuing to stonewall.

AMY GOODMAN: Have you seen these talking points being sent to reporters?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I haven’t. I have no interest in seeing them. The people ask me what are the questions they want. I answer to the best of my ability. I’m not going to engage in sort of going back at the White House on this, other than to suggest they tell the truth to the special counsel.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back for a minute. For people who are not familiar with this or the specific details.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Sure.

AMY GOODMAN: Because with TV being eight-second, nine-second sound bites, it’s really hard to get this whole history and what happened. Talk about what you said in your New York Times op-ed piece, why you said it, and then what happened. What unfolded?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: The title of my piece is, "What I Did Not Find in Africa." What it cataloged was a trip to Niger at the request of the CIA, acting in response to a question by the Vice President. It was to check out allegations that Iraq had attempted to purchase significant quantities of uranium from the country. It was a very important question because, after all, Iraq would have only one use for uranium, and that would be nuclear weapons programs. That would be the one piece of incontrovertible evidence that he was attempting to reconstitute nuclear weapons programs, which would have lent some credence to the notion that the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud. I cam back and said there was nothing to this. Mine was one of three reports in the files of the US Government that said there was nothing to this, which should have been reassuring to those who sent us out, including the Vice President and the National Security Advisor. Instead, of course, the President makes the statement in the State of the Union Address and, as it turns out, he referred to British intelligence, which happened to be the same information. They referred to British intelligence because the CIA wouldn’t clear his making that claim unless it was caveated by going through a third intelligence service. So, there was a real, active deception there. This is not just an accident. This was not a slip of the tongue. These were people who wanted to put something in there that was actively deceptive to the US Congress and to the American people.

AMY GOODMAN: What was your understanding of who put it there?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Well, I don’t know.

AMY GOODMAN: He doesn’t write his own speeches.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I don’t know how they review the State of the Union Address. When I was part of the Clinton White House, people around Clinton told me two days before president Clinton would give his State of the Union Address, he and the Vice President would take the entire day and go over the speech line by line. 16 words takes up two lines. The Vice President knew the answer. The Vice President allowed that to stay in the State of the Union Address. Last week before the State of the Union Address was given, there are typically only five copies in the hands of the National Security Adviser, who also knew, as well as the political office of the Chief of Staff and Vice President. They knew over there, but, as I said, it was a case of real, active deception.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you call President Bush a liar?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Well, what I would say is that what I have always said it’s time and time again the President has proven far more loyal to his senior staff than they have proven to him. Somebody in his staff inserted it. The fact checkers up the chain of command did not get it out. The President uttered it, and later took responsibility for it.

AMY GOODMAN: You wrote this letter, what you did not find in Africa.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I wrote an opinion piece, what I did not find in Africa, 36 hours later, the next day, essentially, the White House acknowledged that the 16 words should never have been in the State of the Union Address. And for me that was it. I said my piece and I called my government to account. I had done my civic duty. In a democracy, citizen has the right to challenge his government what he knows his government has not told the truth. At that point, the President had a choice to make. He could either find the person who put the offending remark in his State of the Union speech, find the guy who put the lie in his mouth, and fire him, which is what I think most people would have done. Instead, he decided to take it out on the person or he or somebody in the administration decided they would take it out on the person who had brought this truth to light. Within a week — in fact, actually within a couple days — I talk about a private meet organize conversation that Novak had with a stranger on the streets of Washington — within two days of my article appearing, Bob Novak was wandering the streets of Washington telling absolute strangers that my wife — what her name was and what her employment was.

AMY GOODMAN: Wait, this is before he wrote the column?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: This is not only before he wrote the column, it’s before he had the confirmation that gave him what he thought he needed to write the column.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what was he doing? Can you specifically say?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Sure. He was walking down the street and a stranger came up to him and said, "You’re Bob Novak, and can I chat with you?" That happens to public figures all the time. I’m sure it happens to you. Novak said, sure. They started talking. During the course of the conversation, this fellow said to Novak, "What about Wilson?" And Novak said, "Wilson is an asshole and his wife is a CIA operative — his wife, Valerie Plame is a CIA operative."

AMY GOODMAN: This is what Robert Novak told your friend?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Right. And it just so happened that that stranger to Bob Novak was a friend of mine and he came to see me afterwards and related the story to me. I find that, quite apart from what I think of the article, the fact that he would be recklessly wandering the streets talking to strangers, giving that information that come up to him on the street extraordinarily reckless and unethical.

AMY GOODMAN: What did you do about it?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I called him and he apologized and he wrote the story despite the CIA told him, of course, no.

AMY GOODMAN: Didn’t Robert Novak know who you were, know your whole history?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Well, he might claim that he didn’t, but, of course, in an article that appeared in an Evans & Novak article in 1990, there were three paragraphs devoted to me which started out by saying he’s like the village shepherd, shepherding his flock taking care of the villagers trying to evacuate. He commented this is the stuff of heroism. I read that article to him, by the way, before he wrote his article.

AMY GOODMAN: On the telephone.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: On the telephone, yeah. I said, "Look, before you write the article, you might refresh your memory about me, these are things that you ought to know." I sent him over the articles that I had written on the subject, and gave him a little bit of my background and read the excerpt from the Evans & Novak article in 1990.

AMY GOODMAN: What did he say?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Well, he actually put some of that in his article. The article itself was not as much of a hatchet job as you usually get from Novak. The only thing that was remarkable about the article, frankly, was the dumping in the middle this, this reference to my wife. If you go back and read it that’s going, it adds nothing to the substance of the story that he’s trying to promote. You ask yourself, why did he put it in. My other question to Novak is when he called the CIA and the CIA said no, what part of n-o didn’t he understand?

AMY GOODMAN: So, where did he get it?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: He got it from two senior administration officials, he claims. His story has changed three or four times since he first wrote the article. It was later reported, of course, in The Washington Post that two senior administration officials called six journalists pushing my wife’s name and her employment on them. After Novak’s article appeared, it’s very clear that the White House political officer and Karl Rove himself, as well as the communications office, tried to distract people’s attention from the story, the 16 words in the State of the Union Address, the lie in the President’s mouth, and tried to turn people’s attention to Wilson and his wife, when it was never about Wilson’s wife, and it was only marginally about Wilson, because I had managed to challenge the government. It was all about who put the 16 words in the State of the Union Address, and why was the President of the United States engaged in a campaign to actively deceive the Congress of the United States and the American people.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Ambassador Joseph Wilson. His wife, Valerie Plame, exposed as an undercover CIA operative. Robert Novak said this was leaked to him by a top Bush administration official. You got a call from Chris Matthews?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Right, sure. A week after the article appeared. Before I had responded. I was not going to respond to Novak’s article publicly. I was not going to comment and did not comment on my wife’s employment other than to say, hypothetically, if she was what Novak asserts, he might be in violation of the law and refer all questions to the CIA, which was appropriate. I was laying low. But the Communications Office was calling around all of these journalists and over the course of the weekend, I was getting calls every day from people saying, first all was the White House is telling us so many off-the-wall things. We cannot go with them, but we’d like you to come on so we can ask you questions. I didn’t rise for that bait. Andrea Mitchell called me and said — and said the White House is saying that the real story here is Wilson and his wife. Finally, Chris Matthews called me and said, I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. He says, and I quote, "Wilson’s wife is fair game."

AMY GOODMAN: Wilson’s wife is fair game.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Fair game. Now, my wife is a career civil servant. She’s apolitical. She exercises her democratic rights like every other citizen, but she does not participate in partisan politics or the partisan political activities. She’s not in the public arena or the public square. How Mr. Rove could conclude that she is fair game is frankly, beyond me. But what I will say is that this sort of attitude just has to stop. We don’t accept it in our towns and villages. We should not accept it in our political campaigns, because it is exactly the same thing they did to John McCain and John McCain’s wife in South Carolina. I go through that story and I talked to John McCain the other day. He thanked me for bringing that story out of what happened in South Carolina. This has got to stop. It is frankly un-American to decide that the way to get at somebody — you have a dispute on ideas, or in this case on veracity, and you decide that instead of debating it, the truth, in this case, the truth or lie issue, you are going to drag my wife out in the public square and administer a beating to distract people’s attention from your lies.

AMY GOODMAN: Very briefly, what happened to John McCain when he was running against Bush for president?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Well, in South Carolina after the Bush machine was defeated in New Hampshire, they attacked to the right and they ran what they call a push-pull campaign in South Carolina where they accuse McCain’s wife, John McCain’s wife, Cindy, of being a drug addict and criminal. She had an addiction. She had been addicted to pain pills when she had severe back problems, and that had changed her behavior. But it was a real illness problem. This is not —- this is not doing this for laughs. Then, of course, they went after—- John McCain has an adopted child who is southeast Asian, so, there was the whole race card played there. John McCain is the father of an un-white child.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Ambassador Joseph Wilson. We’ll be back in him in just a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. We’re talking to Ambassador Joseph Wilson. He’s just come out with his memoir. It’s called "the politics of truth. Inside the lies that led to war and betrayed my wife’s CIA Identity." We have just been talking about the chronology of the exposure. They said your wife was a CIA Operative working in weapons of mass destruction. What does that mean?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Well, what it means is that — not to go into too much detail, but what it means is that operation is set up to protect the United States from weapons of mass destruction landing in our country, and doing harm to our citizens. Whether those weapons are chemical, biological or, of course, nuclear.

AMY GOODMAN: I always wondered, since the Bush administration did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, if in a sense they were killing two birds with one stone. One, they were going after you, punishing you for writing your op-ed piece, and two, because perhaps your wife understood that there weren’t weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, if she did, that was an assumption on my part, that they were taking her out as well?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I don’t think so. I think that they were just simply very clumsy and brutal and ruthless. The Communications Office at the White House has demonstrated time and time again that that’s their style. Given the choice between a meat cleaver and an ice pick, they will pick up the meat cleaver every time. As a consequence, they get a lot of blood all over them themselves when they do this, and deservedly so, I might add.

AMY GOODMAN: Who do you think exposed your wife?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: My understanding from people I talked to, although I don’t have direct knowledge, I think it’s important for people to understand. The stories are around in Washington and what it’s like to be in the information exchange there. My understanding is there was a meeting in the offices of the Vice President, chaired most likely by the Vice President’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Libby, at which time they decided — a decision was made to do a work-up on me. A work-up means run an intelligence operation against a private US citizen to find out everything you can about him, his family, his habits, all of that sort of stuff. And during the course of that work-up, that intelligence operation run against me, they turned up Valerie’s name and her employment. Hence, they were poised to use it as soon as my opinion piece appeared in July. That explains how that information got out to six journalists by two senior White House officials, literally within days.

AMY GOODMAN: So, who exactly are you pointing the finger—?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I think Scooter Libby is involved up to his eyeballs in this. Everybody who was at that meeting would have been part of the conspiracy to run the intelligence operation against me and ultimately to make the decision to leak. I don’t know who made the phone calls, but beyond the people who actually picked up the phone are the people who made the decision to have them make that phone call. What I will say about them, whoever they are, they fall into the category of what the former President Bush called the most insidious of traitors. Whether or not they can be prosecuted and convicted is frankly, immaterial. What is irrefutable in all of this is that they betrayed the national security of the country. They are, the minute that the investigation was opened, the most insidious of traitors.

AMY GOODMAN: How did they hurt your wife? What does it mean to have your cover blown at the CIA?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: When have you lived your life as an actor in a play that never ends, to have it come to an end, it disrupts, obviously, professionally all of your networks, all of your assets, any operations you might have been running. It puts you at risk going overseas. She hasn’t traveled overseas since. We don’t know the extent to which she will be surveilled. It puts you —

AMY GOODMAN: She was working undercover of what, an energy company?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Yeah. That was the energy analyst. In the context of her friends, friends all wonder what part of the relationship was true and which part of it was a lie. Fortunately, all of her friends have been very, very supportive. We have talked about this more in terms of the crime being against the national security of the country. It is really how does the United States suffer as a consequence of having a national security asset involved in protecting this country against weapons of mass destruction, taken off the table because somebody decided that his political agenda was more important.

AMY GOODMAN: What’s the law broken when you expose—?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Think there’s a number of statutes that are broken. The one most frequently sited is the Intelligence Identity’s Identification Act. That law was passed in 1982 after Phillip Agey, a rogue CIA Operative began publishing the names of undercover CIA officers and two were assassinated, one in Athens, Greece, and one in Beirut.

AMY GOODMAN: He claims he is not responsible for that.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I understand that. The names were out there. He may not have been responsible for it. The law was passed, I think as a consequence of his activity, whether he was responsible for it or not, but the fact is that two CIA operatives whose names were exposed were assassinated, one in Athens, Greece, and one in Beirut.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what does this investigation mean right now? What kind of information is being given over? I mean, we hear words like independent investigator. We look at the 9/11 commission, so called independent, and you have them handing — having their notes confiscated when they hear Cheney and Bush give their testimony. Afterwards their notes are confiscated. What does independent mean? Who is doing this investigation?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: What they have done in this case is the Attorney General has recused himself because of possible conflict of interest. He has turned over to a special counsel.

AMY GOODMAN: Conflict of interest with?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Well, because he has other relationships. I must say in that world, you have different relationships at different stages of your life and it’s appropriate. The recusal process is designed to protect the public’s interest when there is a potential conflict of interest. That doesn’t necessarily mean that one party is guilty of nefarious behavior or not, it’s a good way to put up a wall.

AMY GOODMAN: In this case, he paid Karl Rove—

AMBASSADOR WILSON: He did not say when he recused himself why, what part of the relationship might have been a potential conflict. It’s been handed over to the US Attorney in Illinois, Pat Fitzgerald, a very serious guy and is committed to getting the bottom of this, of that I am certain. He is ably assisted by an FBI investigative team, and this they, too, are absolutely committed to getting to the bottom tomorrow of this, and of that, I am certain. The fact that after six or seven months of this, or really the investigation was open in the end of September, in nine or ten months, the fact that they have not been able to get to the bottom of this, is a clear indication that the White House is stonewalling. Senior White House officials have not heeded the President’s call to cooperate fully. They are insubordinate or they have assessed that the President was not serious in asking them to cooperate. I think my judgment is that if the President were to call Karl Rove in, ask him two questions, did you do it? If not, who did? And march everybody up there to the special counsel’s office and tell them to tell the truth, we would solve this in a matter of days.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s interesting, I was listening to Karen Hughes, close advisor to President Bush, explaining why Bush shouldn’t have to hand over a lot of documents to the 9/11 commission. She said, because there’s very sensitive information in some of these, that might, for example, expose the identity of a CIA operative.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Oh, the great irony of that. Karen, of course, is part of this White House Iraq group, which is another little group that grew up during the run-up to the war to shape the message of the — of the government to support the prosecution of the war. Also in that group were Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, among others.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about Scooter Libby and the Vice President going to the CIA repeatedly, as something that one our other guests, Ray McGovern, former long-time CIA analyst said is unprecedented, going to the CIA to investigate or to put pressure, not clear.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I have heard all of those stories. I don’t — not being part of the CIA and part of the intelligence apparatus, and part of the analytical branch, you don’t have particular knowledge of what they may or may not have done, other than what I have heard third-hand. The stories are they made repeated trips out there. And the other stories that are coming out with respect to the Defense Intelligence Agency was that these guys would really browbeat the analysts. It may not have been Cheney and Libby, but it was people who had communications channels back to them, who were sitting there and asking these guys the same questions 30 times until they got the answer they wanted. So, it’s very clear that at least in the minds of some of the analysts there was a deliberate attempt on the part of administration to get them change their analytical conclusions to conform with the political decision that had already been taken. Now, in the case of Niger yellow cake, that’s very clear that’s what happened. They essentially rejected the three reports that were in the files. And they used these documents that turned out to be a forgery.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the acting ambassador in Iraq leading up to the Gulf War more than a decade ago. Can you describe your last meeting with Saddam Hussein?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Sure. I met with him about four days after the invasion of Kuwait. He was supremely self-confident then. I characterized him in an article that I wrote as a lion at the watering hole. Every time he would look up, his staff that would sit along the wall would stiffen, as antelopes would do when the lion would look at them. He was clearly in command, and true to his ruthless form, was able to intimidate others just by a glance. I had not slept in four days. I was pretty pissed off because we had a number of Americans that had already been taken hostage and others, 2,000 Americans who were driven underground in Kuwait. The meeting was — took over about an hour to do. It started out with his giving me his rationale for invading Kuwait, and then he offered what he called "the deal". He said, if you do not resist my occupation of Kuwait, do not try to drive me out of Kuwait, I can guarantee you a steady supply of oil at a good price and I will serve as essentially as your interests here in the gulf. If, on the other hand, you decide to drive me out of Kuwait, you will not be able to Saddam Hussein the losses of 10,000 of your soldiers in the Asian desert. You have neither the political will nor the intestinal fortitude to accept those losses. In response, my response was get out of Kuwait. You’re in violation of the UN. Charter, the OAU Charter and the Arab League Charter. Two, quit looting American properties, and quit threatening our embassy down in Kuwait, our diplomats in Kuwait. Three, you need to let all foreigners, particularly all Americans, leave the region. You’re in violation of the various conventions regarding getting civilians out of harm’s way. Those are the points that I made. I left it to the President to decide what the military response was going to be.

AMY GOODMAN: Weren’t you given a different message than April Glassby, the ambassador before you, on the issue of whether the US cared about him invading Kuwait?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: It was a much different scenario, and I write in the book that I think April Glassby has been much maligned. In fact, she went into the meeting and she repeated to Saddam Hussein exactly what US, and indeed international policy, towards Arab, Arab ordered states, has been from time in memorial, which is while we don’t take a position on the merits of either side of the case, we are — we urge both sides to seek international arbitration. As I point out in the book, I had lunch with a participate in that meeting, an Iraqi participant in the meeting a year ago in April. About four months before he died. He had been the UN ambassador in New York and had been also their ambassador in Washington, D.C. He was at that meeting. He said to me very clearly that Saddam did not misunderstand, did not think he was getting a green or yellow light. April Glassby gave him the message that he expected to hear. On the other hand, what he said, they were surprised by the tone of the letter they received a couple of days afterwards, which was signed by Bush, President Bush, which was drafted in the State of the Union Address. I put that in there not as a criticism of any of the parties in this, but I think it’s important to understand that at times of great stress, what to — what two foreign governments react to and what do they think. Hopefully this will help a future generation of diplomats and policymakers craft their messages a little bit more clearly to make sure their intent is not misunderstood.

AMY GOODMAN: That tone being —

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Conciliatory.

AMY GOODMAN: President Bush, Sr.’s tone being conciliatory.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Holding out the promise of better relations for better behavior.

AMY GOODMAN: On the issue of your relationship with President Bush, Sr., what did he — how did you deal with him? What did the Bush administration say you to at the time when you’re talked about — I’m not — not by the Bush administration officials today, but by reporters. It is rarely raised your relationship with Bush, Sr.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: That was well over a decade ago. But President Bush was always very supportive, and I think I point out in the book that we at the embassy were extraordinarily proactive in our approach. We understood early on that if we did not want to be managed from Washington, we were going to have to manage Washington. And so we tried to do that, and so, in my mission when we did this, we had a great input into the deliberations in Washington. We were actually offering up things in fact, there’s one story where one of the first NSC meetings, National Security Council meetings, the President was brainstorming with the senior staff and came up with an idea and somebody point the out to him that Joe Wilson had already done that two days ago. That gave me enormous credibility. And afterwards, I’m told, that in subsequent meetings when people were come up with ideas, the President would ask what does Joe Wilson think about that. There was a level of credibility. He received a number of messages from him commending my staff and myself for the positions we were taking, and our courage. The day after I got back from Baghdad, I was received in the Oval Office by the President, and the war cabinet and my general service officer and I were both received, he introduced the two of us as true American heroes.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re an adviser now to John Kerry?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: What I do, is I have a senior advisory title to the campaign. I sit as a senior adviser on the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee. We advise the foreign policy people hired by the campaign. We try to bring this policy stuff and distill it down for the campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: We only have a minute. Many people are surprised that John Kerry has not taken a stronger stand on Iraq and that he’s called for more troops to be sent in. Your thoughts on that?

AMBASSADOR WILSON: I think that is probably as much a reaction to the way the Bush people have tried to malign John McCain.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kerry.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: John Kerry, rather. If you go back and look at the speech he gave first at Georgetown and a subsequent speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. He outlines clearly what he thinks needs to be done. If you look at what the Bush administration is, they’re backing into his position about as quickly as possible. Now, with respect to more troops out there, I think one of the things that’s important to understand and all you need to do is compare and contrast the way we did Bosnia with how we’re doing Iraq, force protection. We do not have enough people out interest to protect ourselves.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Your memoir, "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity. " Thanks for joining us.

AMBASSADOR WILSON: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: That does it for today’s program.

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