Valerie Plame Wilson Warns: 'Drain the Swamp' of Nuclear Weapons

October 19th, 2010

TakePart.com

Valerie Plame Wilson Warns: ‘Drain the Swamp’ of Nuclear Weapons

By TakePart | Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:31 PM ET

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To kick off the summit, Valerie Plame Wilson, whose story is the basis for the film Fair Game, gave a powerful keynote speech. She spoke about her career with the CIA and how her cover was exposed. She emphasized her work today as a female leader focused on nuclear security.

TakePart’s favorite quote:

Nuclear security is the defining issue of our time. We all know there are so many problems in the world today, but frankly if we don’t get this one right, the rest don’t really matter.

Valerie on the film Fair Game and being exposed while in the CIA:

Tonight you will see the story of a couple of pretty difficult years for me and my family. You will see at the same time I was dealing with the joys and the challenges of being a wife and a mother, I was also a covert CIA operations officer. It was a job I cherished and one that was taken from me in order to push a partisan agenda. But those few years do not define my service. My committment to my country is a lifelong pursuit.

On preventing a nuclear 9/11:

Like the rest of the country, my life changed after 9/11. Just a few days after that terrible attack, as the smoke was still coming off the World Trade Center, the CIA discovered that Osama bin Laden had met with top Pakistani nuclear scientists in an effort to build a nuclear bomb.

As we watched the country come together in an extraordinary commitment, we knew that the goal of the most dangerous terrorist network in human history was to obtain and use a nuclear weapon against the United States. My work at that point in the CIA became laser focused to prevent a nuclear 9/11.

On terrorism and nuclear security:

Terrorism is only one of three strands of how this catastrophe might affect us all. The truth is simple: You can buy a bomb, you can build a bomb, and then you can explode it in a major city in any part of the world. There is enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the world today to build more than 100,000 bombs.

On parenting and the future of our nation:

When you become a parent, it’s inevitable that your world view shifts. My husband and I are parents of 10-year-old twins, and they really are the light of our lives. I think of them, I look at them, and I know the only way to eliminate the threat of nuclear terrorism is to lock down all nuclear materials and eliminate all nuclear weapons in all countries.

On the power of women:

From the Secretary of State to the chief negotiatior on the New START Agreement to the halls of the Department of Defense, it’s women that are making the decisions in relation to our longterm national security. We’ve moved from the back of the room to the front of the table.

On solving the problem:

I believe we can solve this problem and keep our kids, families and communities safe. You’re here now because now is our moment to serve and to lead…

Presidents Obama and Medvedev [of Russia], those two countries have about 96 percent of the entire world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons or about 22,000. They have jointly declared their commitment to eliminating all nuclear weapons and have begun negotiations on reductions in their arsenals. In April, those presidents signed the New START Treaty. This is a critical first step toward nuclear security.

On what we can do:

That treaty is languishing in our Senate. Despite this critical component to our security, it is deemed in many ways not to be good politics; so its future remains unclear. I believe it’s our responsibility to change that.

Starting today, we have to commit ourselves to changing the tide and letting our senators know this is our priority, and so it must be their priority. We need to engage our communities and spread the word about the threats of nuclear weapons materials and weigh in with our senators and tell them to ratify the New START Agreement.