As a covert CIA Operations Officer, Valerie Plame Wilson worked to protect America’s national security and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Without warning, in 2003 she 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 investigation exposed what some dub an act of treason: that Wilson’s “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.
Much had been written about the “Valerie Plame Story” before Wilson, who remained silent throughout the controversy, wrote her New York Times best-selling autobiography Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House. In 2010, Fair Game was made into a major motion picture starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.
Since her covert identity was compromised, 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, Wilson appears in and narrates the critically-acclaimed documentary Countdown to Zero, about the preventable threat of nuclear disaster. Countdown to Zero was broadcast on The History Channel in fall 2010.
Wilson is currently at work on her second book, a fictional novel about a female covert operative who relies more upon her intellect than high-tech weaponry to gather intelligence. Wilson is also a consultant to the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit research institute for multidisciplinary collaborations in the physical, biological, computational, and social sciences. SFI research has been used to design new HIV therapies, influence sustainable agricultural policies in Indonesia, and influence business policy in the age of information.
At the podium, Wilson discusses Fair Game, sharing 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. Wilson also speaks alongside her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and together they lay out the CIA leak controversy in an incisive and enlightening presentation.
In a separate program, Wilson shares her expertise on the topic of international security and nuclear proliferation. She urges audiences to recognize the importance of holding government accountable and explores the complex issues surrounding nuclear disarmament. Also an outspoken activist on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of postpartum depression, Wilson shares her own harrowing experience with severe PPD. She inspires audiences to overcome obstacles, support one another and identify solutions for the nearly 20% of new mothers affected by PPD.
Plame and her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, are the parents of 10-year-old twins. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, and Masters degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.