Joseph C. Wilson
Director at Symbion Power
Date of Birth: 6 November 1949
Place of Birth: Bridgeport, Connecticut
Commentary: A not-so-diplomatic Ambassador, Joseph Wilson publicly confronted President George Bush’s administration about its use of contentious intelligence to justify the Iraq war. Wilson had been sent on a mission to discover whether Saddam Hussein's regime was attempting to acquire uranium from Niger. He found that it was not and criticised Bush’s stance in the New York Times. Within days, Wilson says, Bush apparatchiks took revenge by briefing journalists about his wife Valerie Plame’s undercover role with the Central Intelligence Agency. Now Wilson is back on the African beat, where he started his diplomatic career, as a director of Symbion Power and Jarch Capital as well as running his own consulting company, JC Wilson International Ventures.
Wilson’s campaign against the Bush administration prompted Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s successful prosecution of I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Chief of Staff to then Vice-President Dick Cheney, for obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to federal investigators. Wilson is continuing his legal battle against key figures from the Bush-Cheney era. The saga will be made into a film, ‘Fair Game’, to be directed by Doug Liman and starring Naomi Watts, who bears a striking resemblance to Valerie Plame. Washington journalists claim that Bush-Cheney officials referred to Plame as ‘fair game’ when they vengefully exposed her undercover work with the CIA. The screenplay is based on the couple’s memoirs.
Biography: Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1949, Joseph Charles Wilson IV was raised in a Republican family. He attended the University of California, matriculating in 1968, and describes himself as in tune with the Sixties’ ethos. He joined the US Foreign Service in 1976 and held various positions in Niger, Togo, South Africa, Burundi and Congo-Brazzaville. In 1988 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission to Iraq, reporting to the then US Ambassador April Catherine Glaspie. He was heralded as a ‘true American hero’ for his role in evacuating and protecting American citizens in Iraq when the first Gulf War broke out. Wilson returned to Africa as Ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé e Príncipe (1992-1995). He then moved to Germany as Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces in Europe until 1997, when he was appointed Special Assistant to Bill Clinton in Washington and Senior Director for African Affairs.