Joseph Wilson speaks at Xavier

Former ambassador and husband of CIA operative Valerie Plame discusses debate over war in Iraq | November 9, 2005

Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the foreign policy expert and former senior U.S. diplomat currently at the heart of a Washington CIA leak investigation, visited the University on Monday, Dec. 5. Wilson spoke about the debate over the war in Iraq. The event was co-sponsored by the Xavier University student government association and the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue.

Wilson has been involved in international politics for more than 20 years and, over the course of a highly decorated career, has held many senior government posts, including special assistant to the president, senior director for African affairs and acting ambassador to Iraq during Operation Desert Shield, the U.S. military buildup prior to the 1991 Gulf War.

But Wilson is most familiar to the American public in association with the ongoing CIA leak investigation that led to the recent indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, top adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In 2002, the CIA sent Wilson to Niger to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy yellowcake uranium to advance Iraq’s nuclear program. Wilson reported back to Washington that the claims were groundless. After hearing President George W. Bush repeat the claims, most notably in his 2003 state of the union address, Wilson expressed his dissent in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. The subsequent revelation in the press by columnist Robert Novak that Wilson’s wife—Valerie Plame—was a covert CIA operative sparked the current high profile investigation.

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