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The faces behind Fair Game. -

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TRACY BOWDEN, REPORTER: The Obama administration has slammed the release of confidential documents
by the whistleblower site Wikileaks, but what happens when the White House itself is implicated in
the leaking of secret information?

Back in 2002, before the invasion of Iraq, US intelligence agencies were seeking evidence that
Saddam Hussein still had weapons of mass destruction.

Former ambassador Joe Wilson was sent to Africa to investigate claims that Iraq was trying to get
uranium ore from Niger. He found no evidence, but early the following year, George W. Bush went
public with the claims.

That prompted Joe Wilson to write a newspaper article contradicting the President.

The fallout included the leaking by the White House of his wife Valerie Plame Wilson's status as a
covert agent for the CIA.

Their story is now a movie, 'Fair Game'.

I spoke to Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson in Los Angeles.

Valerie Plame Wilson, you've gone from being a covert CIA agent and also a very private person I
understand, to someone who's in the spotlight and having your life portrayed by Hollywood on the
big screen. How do you reconcile that contrast?

VALERIE PLAME WILSON, FORMER CIA AGENT: I find the whole experience really surreal. It's been very
strange. I did go from being a very private person to literally overnight being a very public one,
and I find it a challenge.

TRACY BOWDEN: What can you reveal about your role with the CIA?

VALERIE PLAME WILSON: My expertise was in counter-proliferation. In the run-up to the war with Iraq
I and my former colleagues were looking at the Iraqi scientists, their presumed WMD programs,
trying to figure out what was the state of their R and D, where were they procuring these items and
so forth.

TRACY BOWDEN: Joe Wilson, you were sent to Niger to investigate claims that yellowcake had been
shipped to Iraq. You found no evidence. Why did you later write that Op. Ed. article and did you
consider the impact it might have on your life and that of your family?

JOE WILSON, FORMER DIPLOMAT: I wrote the article because the entire case for war, the serious
strategic case for war was predicated on the slogan, "We can't afford to wait for the smoking gun
to come in the form of mushroom cloud." It was the whole case of weapons of mass destruction. And
when I learned that in fact the President built part of that case on intelligence that later turned
out to be bogus, and intelligence that I had taken a look at at the request of the CIA, it became
apparent to me that the administration had simply not been totally truthful with the American
public and somebody had to hold them to account.

TRACY BOWDEN: Valerie Plame Wilson, do you remember how you felt that day when you realised your
cover had been blown in Robert Novak's newspaper column?

VALERIE PLAME WILSON: It felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut. Immediately, I am thinking
of the assets, my network with whom I worked with over the years, I'm think about the security of
my family. Our twins at the time were three years old, and of course as a parent their safety is
paramount. And I knew of course my career was over immediately. And I think the movie does a very
good job in that scene and watching it is hard all over again.

TRACY BOWDEN: Joe Wilson, do you understand why the Government would go to such lengths to
discredit you and also involve your wife?

JOE WILSON: Well, I can understand why they would go after me. That was their style. That has
actually been a style - there's a little saying here that if you can't beat them with the facts,
you just go after their characters and confuse everybody. What was really unprecedented in modern
sort of political disputes at least is this idea of dragging my wife into it, dragging family
members into it. That generally does not happen, unless you're perhaps a candidate for office. And
it's very clear they wanted to do a couple of things. One, they wanted to silence the analysts out
at the agency who were beginning to leak about how they'd been pressured to shape their reports,
and two, I think that they just - they may have actually seen this as an organised CIA effort to
discredit the White House. They may have actually just sort of misunderstood what the initial
article was and those days that we generated that discussion.

TRACY BOWDEN: Valerie Plame Wilson, there are some personal challenges portrayed in the movie,
difficult times in your marriage. Are they accurate?

VALERIE PLAME WILSON: Yes. (Laughs). Yes! It is very, very painful to see your spouse being called
a liar or a traitor. I was accused of nepotism and it was said that I wasn't covert, that I was
just a secretary and so forth. And all of these things were out of our control and there was all
this media maelstrom happening just outside our front door, literally sometimes, with the
photographers right there. And of course it has a very serious impact on your personal
relationships and how do you navigate through that?

TRACY BOWDEN: You talk about the CIA being too political now. How effective is the US intelligence

VALERIE PLAME WILSON: I'm sorry to say I don't think it's nearly as effective as it should be,
given the billions of dollars that have been thrown at it. In typical American fashion after the
9/11 attacks, there were some reform efforts, but reform really came in the form of more money,
which doesn't necessarily mean it's any more effective. It is still politicised, perhaps not as
much as it was, but it really is a question of infrastructure and responsibility, power - as you
can imagine, Washington is filled with bureaucratic turf wars, and what gets caught in that is we
have seen in the United States there've been several incidents over the last couple of years of
very, very close misses of terrorist actions and it turns out it was what's been called "systemic
errors". There's some real problems, I think, in our intelligence infrastructure.

JOE WILSON: And I think one of the issues that is really touched on in the movie is the extent to
which analysts were badgered in the run-up to the Gulf War to shape their conclusions on political
decisions and political trends rather than allowing the decisions to flow from the facts as the
analysts presented them, so they had the whole process really backwards.

TRACY BOWDEN: Joe Wilson, with the benefit of hindsight, if you'd known what was going to happen,
would you still have written that opinion piece?

JOE WILSON: Oh, well, sure. The - I mean, as I said earlier, it is fundamental that you hold your
Government to account for what your Government says and does in the name of the American people.
This was a momentous decision to send our fellow citizens off to kill and to die in the name of the
American people, and we the American people had a right when we were making that decision to
understand the facts, not be told a bunch of half-truths and misstatements and actual lies to
justify this engagement of our blood and our treasure.

TRACY BOWDEN: Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame Wilson, thanks for speaking to us.

JOE WILSON: Thankyou very much.