Former CIA agent selected as Distinguished Lecturer

April 16, 2013

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Valerie Plame Wilson


PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – Valerie Plame Wilson’s experiences as a covert CIA operations officer and subsequent outing from the agency were made into a Hollywood movie. She will be on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville campus April 17 as the university’s Distinguished Lecturer.

Wilson will speak in the Williams Fieldhouse at 10 a.m. for 60 minutes, followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session. Doors will open at approximately 9:30 a.m., and admission is free.

A book signing will be held at 11:45 a.m. in Heritage Hall at the Markee Pioneer Student Center. Wilson will be signing copies of her book, “Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent was Betrayed by Her Own Government.” The book is available for purchase at the University Bookstore.

All classes, labs and lessons are canceled that day from 10 a.m.-noon, allowing students, faculty and staff to attend the lecture.

As a covert CIA operations officer, 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 Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and the Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Libby was indicted and found guilty on four out of five charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators and in March 2007.

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.” 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 Countdown to Zero, about the preventable threat of nuclear disaster.

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 lays out the CIA leak controversy in an incisive and enlightening presentation. 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.

Wilson and her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, are the parents of 10-year-old twins. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, and master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

The Distinguished Lecturer event is sponsored by the Pioneer Involvement Center with funding support from SUFAC and the Wilgus Fund.

(For a video preview, go to

Contact: Valerie Wetzel, Pioneer Involvement Center, (608) 342-1448,

Written by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,


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