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University Communications and Marketing
Friday, November 13, 2009
Former C.I.A. agent tells the story of her betrayal
By Justin Walker
July 14, 2003, Robert Novak, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, publically named Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert C.I.A. operative.
In a speech for the Distinguished Speaker Series at UNC Pembroke on November 5, Plame Wilson recalled that day and the emotional rollercoaster that resulted. The event was attended by approximately 700 in the Givens Performing Arts Center.
“I felt like I had been sucker punched in the stomach,” she said. “Overnight, I had become a public persona after years of being an extremely private person in my career.”
Plame Wilson told of a deep emotional spiral and discussed the difficulties she faced. Her family life suffered, including relationships with friends, co-workers and her husband.
Above all, she was unable to defend herself because it is forbidden to speak publically as a member of the Central Intelligence Agency. Plame Wilson retired from the C.I.A. on January 2006 and found her voice.
Reflecting on this time, Wilson said, “if none of this had happened, I would not be in Pembroke this evening. I would be overseas working on issues of national security.”
After resigning from the C.I.A. and suing Bush administration officials who outed her, she wrote a book about the ordeal. Plame Wilson discussed her 2007 book “My Life as a Spy: My Betrayal by the White House.”
In 2009, Plame Wilson and her family moved on from the ordeal and reside in Santé Fe, New Mexico, away from the troubles and controversies of her past experiences.
“It’s been six years since the scandal, but it feels like six seconds,” she said.
With a movie in the works, Plame Wilson remains deeply scarred by the betrayal of her career.
Plame Wilson closed with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
Audience members were impressed by the story.
Corey Cox, a freshman, said “I think she gave good insight on what happened during her scandal. She told the truth and cleared the air in pointing out that the Bush administration was the cause.”
Junior Sieiara Davis said “she did a great job by coming out truthfully on the matter. There seems to be a lot of things the government keeps from us.”
Freshman Coydarel Crook said “I like the way she delivered her story. She was straightforward in her conversation.”
The Distinguished Speaker Series will continue with basketball player Sheryl Swoopes on January 21 and actress Jodie Sweetin on March 23.
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Justin Walker is a student intern and senior Mass Communication major.
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