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News Release

Valerie Plame Wilson to Speak at Moravian College

Former CIA covert operations officer to present 25th Annual Cohen Lecture

Bethlehem, Pa., October 16, 2008—Moravian College will celebrate 25 years of Cohen Arts and Lectures programs when former CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson presents a lecture, “Civility and Public Service,” on Wednesday, October 29. The author of New York Times bestseller, Fair Game My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, will speak in Johnston Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is free, but an advance ticket is required. Advance tickets may be requested online or by calling 610 625-7880. In addition, advance tickets can be picked-up at the Information Desk in the Haupert Union Building on Moravian’s Main Street Campus.

In 2003, Plame found herself at the heart of a political firestorm when senior White House and State Department officials revealed her secret status to several national journalists—including a syndicated conservative newspaper columnist who published her name.

A subsequent Justice Department investigation exposed what some dub an act of treason: that the "outing" was coordinated with the involvement of President Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff (Karl Rove), Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff (I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby) and the Deputy Secretary of State (Richard Armitage). Libby was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators, and in March 2007 was found guilty on four of the five counts against him. The Wilsons also have filed a civil suit seeking damages against officials involved in the leaking of her name.

Plame's husband, retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was the first to challenge the Bush administration on its use of purported intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq. In a July 2003 New York Times article, he revealed that he had been asked by the CIA to look into allegations that the Iraqis had attempted to purchase significant quantities of uranium yellowcake from the West African country of Niger. Wilson concluded there was no substance to the allegations -- a conviction supported by others, including the American Ambassador to Niger and a four-star Marine Corps general. Within a week of his accusation that the White House “twisted” its intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion, Plame's employment as a CIA agent was revealed -- the retaliation at the heart of the Justice Department investigation.

At the podium, Plame shares her thoughts on what she views as 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. Her book, "Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House," is a New York Times Bestseller and has been greeted with both praise and controversy. Publisher's Weekly said "This story shows us how strong the desire to serve can be and how treacherous the risks are in the minefields of Washington."

The program was established at the college in 1984 through the generosity of the late Bertha F. (Berte) Cohen ’37 and the late Bernard L. Cohen, to express personal appreciation for their longtime association with the College and the Bethlehem community. Bertha Cohen was a 1937 Moravian graduate and a life trustee of the College’s board. Bernard Cohen was a member of the Lehigh University class of 1936.

The Series endures at Moravian thanks to the generosity of Moravian College Trustee Nancy Cohen Engels, daughter of Berte and Bernard Cohen. A retired Language Arts and Humanities High School teacher, Ms. Engels graduated from the Moravian Seminary for Girls in 1965 and earned her B.A. from the University of Miami in 1969. She currently resides in Miami, Florida with her husband, attorney Martin Engels.

The Cohen Arts and Lecture series have featured a host of outstanding speakers and performers over the past 24 years, including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Tom Friedman; television journalist David Brinkley; folk singer Burl Ives; scientist Carl Sagan; feminist writer and lecturer Gloria Steinem; political analysts Andrea Mitchell, David Gergen, and Tom Wicker; former president Jimmy Carter; pianist Vladimir Feltsman; the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra; and the New York Philomusica chamber ensemble; author Kurt Vonnegut; a political panel comprising commentator Cokie Roberts; former New York governor Mario Cuomo; political consultant James Carville, and former governor and presidential chief of staff John Sununu; former ambassador Andrew Young; environmental activist Joseph P. Kennedy II; best-selling author Anna Quindlen; and CNN Crossfire’s Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, Richard Leakey, one of the foremost authorities on wildlife and nature conservation, among others.

Johnston Hall is located on Moravian’s Main Street Campus near the corner of Monocacy and Locust Streets in Bethlehem, Pa.  Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and seating is general admission. For more information, or directions to Johnston Hall or the Haupert Union Building, call 610 861-1491 or visit Moravian College campus maps on the Web at www.moravian.edu/about.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.