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Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson to speak at ECU

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Mar. 25, 2009)   —   In 2003, White House officials leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, spoke out against the Bush administration.  

The incident and its message for democracy will be the subject of a talk Wilson will deliver when he visits East Carolina University April 7. He will present his lecture, “Speaking Truth to Power,” at 2 p.m. in the Hendrix Auditorium at the Mendenhall Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The Bush Administration asked Wilson in 2002 to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein was seeking to acquire uranium from the West African nation of Niger for Iraq’s nuclear program. Wilson reported back to Washington that there was no truth to the claims, yet President George W. Bush asserted in his 2003 State of the Union Address that “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” identifying British intelligence as the source of this information.
In a New York Times article in July 2003, Wilson publicly stated the findings of his trip to Niger, and charged that the Bush Administration skewed British intelligence to exaggerate the threat of Iraqi nuclear weapons development. Eight days later, in retaliation for his views, Wilson’s wife was revealed to be a CIA officer by senior White House and State Department officials.
The betrayal of Valerie Plame’s identity resulted in the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby on four counts of perjury, lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice.
Wilson’s presentation at ECU will focus on the first amendment right and responsibility of citizenship. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The event is sponsored by the ECU College of Human Ecology’s Carolyn Freeze Baynes Memorial Lecture in Social Justice Series, Student Union Programming Board and Office of Institutional Diversity.  

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Contact: Peggy Novotny | 252-328-2882