First Commonwealth Endowed Lecture to Feature Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph Wilson

Posted on 10/4/2011 11:58:00 AM

Former CIA operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson and U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson will be the speakers at this year’s First Commonwealth Endowed Lecture at IUP. The couple will present “The Politics of Truth: Inside the Valerie Plame Wilson CIA Leak Controversy.”

The lecture, presented as part of the Lively Arts’ Ideas and Issues lecture series, will be held November 14, 2011, at 8:00 p.m. The event will be presented in Fisher Auditorium in the IUP Performing Arts Center.

The lecture is funded by the IUP Student Cooperative Association and First Commonwealth Bank. It is presented by the Lively Arts of IUP’s College of Fine Arts.

Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available at the Hadley Union Building Box Office starting October 11 or by calling 724-357-1313.

The inaugural First Commonwealth Endowed Lecture in October 2008 featured political commentators James Carville and Mary Matalin. The series continued in 2009 with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and investigative reporter Bob Woodward and in 2010 with Apollo commander Captain James Lovell, Jr.

The first to challenge the Bush administration on its use of purported intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq, Ambassador Joseph Wilson revealed in a July 2003 New York Times article 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, who had been in charge of the American Embassy in Baghdad during the first Gulf War and later served as an ambassador in the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, concluded there was no substance to the allegations. The American ambassador to Niger and a four-star Marine Corps general were included in supporting this conviction.

Within a week of his accusation that the White House “twisted” its intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion, his wife’s secret status as a CIA operations officer was revealed to several national journalists, including a syndicated conservative newspaper columnist who published her name by senior White House and State Department officials.

Valerie Plame Wilson, a longtime CIA covert operations officer involved in issues of counter-proliferation, then found herself at the heart of a political firestorm and of a Justice Department investigation that exposed what some dub an act of treason.

The betrayal implicated senior administration officials, including President George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove; Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby; and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. For his role in the leak case, Libby was convicted on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to federal investigators in March 2007.

For additional information about the presentation, contact the Lively Arts at 724-357-2787 (ARTS) or e-mail For links to a variety of background information on the lecture and other Ideas and Issues events, visit the Lively Arts website.

Arrangements for the appearance of Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph Wilson have been made through Greater Talent Network, Inc., New York.


Ideas and Issues

Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph Wilson

Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph Wilson

November 14, 2011
8:00 p.m.

Outed CIA operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, both subjects of the film Fair Game, speak as this year's First Commonwealth Endowed Lecture. Admission is free, but tickets are required and will be available at the Hadley Union Building starting Monday, October 10. There is a limit of four tickets per person unless other arrangements are made through the Lively Arts.

This event is over.

For more information, e-mail or call 724-357-2787.