Here it is, straight talk from one our few great Americans by way of TPM:
I just got off the phone with former Ambassador Joe Wilson, and in our conversation he angrily disputed Robert Novak’s latest assertion about the outing of his CIA operative wife, adding that if the columnist isn’t going to confession, “he’s going straight to Hell.”
Wilson’s angry over a story today in The Hill which quoted Novak saying that Wilson did not forcefully object when Novak spoke to him before publishing his now infamous column naming his wife, Valerie Plame, prompting a Federal investigation and getting Scooter Libby carted off to jail.
According to The Hill, Novak made the assertion on Saturday at a seminar on the CIA leak case at the 2007 Society of Professional Journalists Convention. The paper reported that Novak characterized Wilson’s attitude towards the forthcoming column set to name his wife this way: “He was not terribly exercised about it.”
Instead, Novak claimed, Wilson was primarily focused on not being named in Novak’s article solely as an opponent of the Iraq war.
“He’s lying,” Wilson responded a few moments ago when I reached him on his cell phone.
In fact, Wilson claims, the two men were talking because he had called Novak explicitly to complain that the columnist had been naming his wife in private conversations throughout Washington. He hadn’t even called to talk about what Novak was writing, he claims.
“When I talked to him it was not about what he was writing,” Wilson tells me. “The purpose of my phone call to him was to tell him that it was not appropriate for him to be telling strangers in Washington that my wife works for the CIA.”
Wilson also countered that Novak’s claim that he hadn’t forcefully objected to the naming of his wife was a severe distortion, based on the fact that Wilson couldn’t say anything direct about it to Novak without confirming it.
“After I told him this, he asked if I would confirm whether my wife did work for the CIA,” Wilson says. “I said, `I am not going to say anything about my wife. You need to talk to the CIA about it.'”
“How could I confirm or deny this without acknowledging something?” continued Wilson, who’s frequently duked it out publicly with Novak over Plamegate. “I hope Novak is going to confession because otherwise he’s going straight to Hell. Because he’s a chronic liar.”
Apparently The Hill didn’t contact Wilson to get his side of the story. So I did. And now you have it.