PLATTEVILLE, Wis. -- A former CIA agent who found herself in the middle of a 2003 political firestorm will serve as the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's distinguished lecturer next month.
Former CIA covert operative Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson, were at the center of a political controversy that began in July 2003, four months after the U.S. invaded Iraq. Joseph Wilson, a retired diplomat, authored an article discrediting George W. Bush's administration's assertions that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Senior White House and State Department officials revealed Plame Wilson's secret status to several national journalists, including a syndicated conservative newspaper columnist who published her name.
A subsequent investigation exposed what some call an act of treason: Plame Wilson's "outing" was coordinated with the involvement of Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove; Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Libby was later indicted and found guilty in March 2007 on four of five charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators during the investigation into the leak.
Plame Wilson's experiences and subsequent dismissal from the agency were made into a Hollywood movie, "Fair Game," starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.
Since her covert identity was compromised, Plame Wilson has become a public advocate and respected authority on issues of national security, counter-proliferation and politics. A leader of the Global Zero initiative, she appears in the critically acclaimed documentary "Countdown to Zero," about the preventable threat of nuclear disaster.
"Once again, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has been able to attract a high-profile distinguished lecturer to speak on campus," said UW-P Chancellor Dennis Shields. "I look forward to hearing (Plame) Wilson's captivating story.
"It is important to not only follow current national and international events closely but to also study history. And for the UW-Platteville campus to be host to someone with the life experiences that (Plame) Wilson brings, it is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to learn."
At public appearances, Plame Wilson discusses her book, "Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent was Betrayed by Her Own Government," sharing her thoughts on what she views as an unprecedented abuse of public trust by the Bush administration in its efforts to silence a critic and subvert the right of citizens to exercise free speech. She urges audiences to recognize the importance of holding government accountable and explores the complex issues surrounding nuclear disarmament.
Val Wetzel, of UW-P's Pioneer Involvement Center, recalled watching her in November on NBC's "Today Show," with Queen Noor of Jordan. The two discussed Global Zero's efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.
"This is very exciting," said Wetzel, who has read "Fair Game." "Valerie has a very compelling story to tell."