2008 COHEN ARTS AND LECTURES (save the date)
Former CIA covert operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson will present a lecture, "Civility and Public Service," on Wednesday, October 29, during the annual Cohen Lecture.
The author of 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 will be required. For more information, call 610 625-7880.
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."