Briana Brady ‘21
Former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson will speak at Smith College in Weinstein Auditorium at 5 p.m. as part of a panel speaking on “Social Media and U.S. Foreign Policy” on Monday. Joining her on the panel will be Paul Musgrave, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts.
According to The Washington Post, Joseph Wilson, Valerie’s husband, was sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate whether that country had sold raw nuclear materials to Iraq and found no evidence.
Despite his findings, then-president George W. Bush claimed in his 2003 State of the Union address that “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
In 2003, following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Joseph Wilson wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “Some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat,” and continued to say that if his findings were ignored because they did not serve to support previous conceptions of Iraq, then one could argue that the U.S. went to war under false pretenses.
The Bush White House did not appreciate the comments, and a little over a week later, a prominent columnist Robert D. Novak wrote that white Wilson never worked for the CIA, his wife, Valerie, did, and specifically focused on weapons of mass destruction. Novak claimed that senior administrative officials told him that Wilson’s wife, Valerie, was the one who suggested his assignment to Niger.
Later that year, an investigation was held as to whether the Bush administration had illegally leaked Valerie’s name as revenge against her husband.
It eventually came out that Valerie’s name had indeed been leaked to more than six journalists, including Novak, but no others had outed her. Legal cases followed, but in short, Valerie Plame Wilson had been exposed and could no longer serve as a CIA agent.
The Post also detailed a recent controversy surrounding Wilson. In September, Wilson was under fire for a controversial tweet linking an article that headlined “America’s Jews are driving America’s wars.” Many anti-Semitic passages were included in the piece.
While Wilson did delete the tweet and post follow-up messages that were both apologetic and defensive, she was called out for tweeting similar articles from the same website in the past.
She is a member of the board of directors for a nonprofit that advocates for nuclear disarmament, the Ploughshares Fund and works with the organization Global Zero as well.
Further, MassLive notes that she also made recent headlines for her effort to raise enough money to buy Twitter and ban President Trump from using it.
She has written three books as well, including one detailing her outing as a former CIA agent and is a mother of twin teenagers.