Joe Wilson Says Kerry Hasn't Asked Him to Resign

By Robert B. Bluey | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT


Boston (CNSNews.com) - Former ambassador Joe Wilson, an adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign, said Wednesday he would continue to advise Kerry on foreign policy matters despite attempts in recent days by Republicans to "smear" his reputation.

Wilson was greeted with a standing ovation at the left-wing "Take Back America" conference, sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future, despite two recent reports that discredit his claims that President Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's attempt to buy uranium from Niger.

"On my road to Boston, I was ambushed. I was ambushed by the Republican National Committee-directed smear campaign based upon lies and distortions," Wilson said. "I've been accused of being a traitor to my country and of being a lair.

"And if you take a look at the Senate Select Committee Intelligence report," he continued, "it is hard to see how they conclude that somehow my contribution to this debate and my calling on my government to account for what it has said ... has been anything less than truthful."

Republicans have continually attacked Wilson's claims. Earlier Wednesday, the GOP's chairman, Ed Gillespie, pointed to the Senate Intelligence Committee report and a British government inquiry, which both challenge Wilson's assertions about pre-war intelligence.

"Ambassador Wilson made a lot of charges about the president and vice president that the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously, and in bipartisan fashion, has completely discredited," Gillespie said. "This is someone who has been completely discredited, yet remains an adviser to the Kerry campaign."

Wilson told CNSNews.com that the Kerry campaign hasn't asked him to resign from his advisory role. Just last week, another Kerry adviser, Sandy Berger, quit upon acknowledging he took classified documents from the National Archives.

"I still serve as a surrogate and I still also serve as a member of the foreign policy advisory committee," Wilson said. "I am not a paid adviser, and I talk to the campaign. You can quote me on that."

Wilson's speech to the group of liberal activists was designed to contrast with other Democrats who offered their views on the situation in Iraq. Despite his opposition to Bush administration policies, Wilson said he wouldn't support bringing the troops home now.

"We owe the Iraqis every effort to reconstruct their country," Wilson said. "But we cannot and we must not do it alone. We have no credibility. We are occupiers. ... The only way we can succeed is if we are effective in internationalizing it and bringing a lot of different faces and a lot of different flags to the task."

He said the Bush administration was incapable of rebuilding Iraq because it had "absolutely no credibility."

Wilson used the occasion to set the record straight, in his view, about the recent reports that challenged his assertions. He accused the authors of the Senate Intelligence Committee report of laziness and neglecting certain facts.

Wilson also maintained that the Bush administration acted improperly in relation to syndicated columnist Robert Novak's disclosure that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative who recommended Wilson for the Niger assignment.

"This is a partisan smear campaign being run by the RNC," Wilson told CNSNews.com. "The president and vice president are the titular heads of the RNC, and they're under criminal investigation. It certainly gives the appearance of interfering with a criminal investigation."

The U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, is heading the investigation into the alleged "leak" by administration officials. Fitzgerald was appointed in December by the Justice Department and is still in the midst of his investigation.

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