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University of Iowa News Release

 

March 19, 2007

Former Ambassador Wilson To Speak March 26 In Place Of Valerie Plame Wilson

Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson will speak 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 26 in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union as part of the University of Iowa Lecture Series. Wilson's wife, former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, was scheduled to speak March 26 but had to cancel.

Wilson and his wife became the center of a national controversy in 2003 when Plame Wilson's identity as a CIA agent was leaked to the media.

Wilson's presentation "The Politics Of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity" is sponsored by the University Lecture Committee. It is free and open to the public.

According to agency representing Plame Wilson, "She was enthusiastic about speaking at University of Iowa but has been advised by her attorneys that she must first resolve certain pending legal issues arising from recent developments. She looks forward to addressing the University of Iowa community as soon as those legal issues have been resolved."

At the podium, Joseph Wilson will lay out his version of the CIA leak controversy. Drawing from his 2004 memoir, "The Politics of Truth," he will take the audience inside two decades of world politics, from facing down the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to White House leaks. A frequent foreign policy commentator for news media outlets worldwide, Wilson also highlights foreign affairs and international relations in a post-9/11 society.

The last American official to meet with Hussein before the start of the 1990 Gulf War, Wilson was the acting U.S. ambassador in Iraq throughout Operation Desert Storm. His 20-plus-year career in international politics was marked by numerous senior government appointments, including that of special assistant to President Clinton. President George H.W. Bush dubbed Wilson "a true American hero" for his efforts in helping to free more than 100 American hostages in Iraq after Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Wilson was assigned by the administration of President George W. Bush in 2002 to investigate reports that Hussein was seeking to acquire uranium for the purpose of advancing Iraq's nuclear program. Wilson reported back to Washington that he found no such basis for the claims.

In a 2003 New York Times piece, Wilson opined that the Bush administration had exaggerated the threat of the Iraqi nuclear program. Soon after, the employment of his wife as a CIA operative was revealed, leading the former ambassador to charge that White House officials leaked her covert identity as retaliation for his New York Times denouncement. This allegation has lead to the recent investigation into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, in addition to sparking a running debate regarding journalism ethics.

The Justice Department investigation found that Plame Wilson's "outing" was coordinated with the involvement of President Bush's deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove; Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; and the deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage. On March 6 of this year, Libby was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators, and he was found guilty on four of the five charges against him in a trial that began in January 2007. The Wilsons also have filed a civil suit seeking damages against officials involved in the leaking of her name.

On Friday, March 16, Plame Wilson told Congress that senior officials at the White House and State Department "carelessly and recklessly" blew her cover to discredit her diplomat husband, according to news reports. The Congressional hearing was the first time Plame Wilson has publicly answered questions about the case.

A self-proclaimed political centrist, Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976-98. Serving during this time the administrations of both parties, he held posts throughout Africa and eventually was named ambassador to Gabon. From 1988-91, he was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

Wilson's decorated career also includes a 1997-98 stint as special assistant to President Clinton/senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council. In this role, he was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as a leading proponent of the Africa Trade Bill and a principal architect of President Clinton's historic 1998 trip to Africa.

In October 2003, Wilson received the Ron Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling from the Fertel Foundation and the Nation Institute, awarded to an individual or organization that has brought an important issue to light. Additional honors include the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, the University of California at Santa Barbara Distinguished Alumnus Award and the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award.

A California native and graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, Wilson manages JCWilson International Ventures, a consulting firm specializing in strategic management and international-business development. He resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Plame Wilson and two children.

Photo: High resolution version can be found at: http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2007/march/images/031907Joseph_Wilson_hirez.jpg

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory 319-384-0012, george-mccrory@uiowa.edu; Program: UI Lecture Committee, 319-335-3255.

SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.