From Freeman interview with The Nation magazine:

Q. You say that you retain confidence in the president. You don't think that a quiet word from him to members of Congress might have stopped all this? A. Oh, I think it might well have, particularly at the beginning when it was still a purely partisan matter. Before Nancy Pelosi jumped on the bandwagon. When you had the seven Republican members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence writing a letter that was particularly partisan, that's when, if the White House were going to weigh in, it might have done some good.

Q. So the White House might have jumped in quicker. Certainly the White House suffered a loss of credibility as a result, now. A. Yes. They probably could have avoided that appearance of embarrassment. Would I have preferred to have been backed? Of course. But it wouldn't have altered the basic problem, that anything that the NIC said under my chairmanship would have been subjected to a slanderous attack.