Former US diplomat Joseph Wilson, whose then-wife Valerie Plame was declared a CIA agent in apparent retaliation for his opposition to the Bush administration during the Iraq war, died Friday.
Wilson, 69, died of organ failure at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Plame told NBC News.
"It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of a true American hero, Ambassador Joe Wilson," Plame said in a statement. "He had the heart of a lion and the courage to reconcile."
Wilson's confrontation with the White House began in 2002, when the CIA asked him to fly to Niger and confirmed that the country had it in the 1
A former ambassador to Gabon who spent much of his 23-year diplomatic career in Africa, Wilson was a private citizen at the time.
Wilson found no evidence that Niger had made such a sale to Iraq and reported it to the CIA.
He was stunned when President George W. Bush announced in his January 2003 address to the Union that the British government had learned that Hussein had "recently purchased significant quantities of uranium from Africa. "
Seven months later, Bush ordered an invasion of Iraq.
Wilson responded on July 6, 2003 with an issue in The New York Times, entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," and who directly sought to justify the Bush administration for the Iraq war.
"If my information is considered inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why)," he writes. "However, if the information was overlooked because it did not meet some of the preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument could be made that we went to war under false pretenses."
Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration were outraged. And a week later, syndicated colonist Robert Nowak wrote a column that blew Plame's cover as a CIA operative to discredit Wilson, and that torpedoed her career in the process.
This was a breathtaking violation of the DC DC decorum and ultimately led to charges against Cheney & # 39; s
Libby was convicted in 2007 of lying to the FBI and obstructing justice. He was pardoned last year by President Donald Trump.
The drama, which tested the marriage of the Washington couple and led them to break up in New Mexico, was portrayed in the 2010 movie "Fair Play," which is based on their memoirs. The couple divorced in 2017 after two decades of marriage. The two have two children together.
Plum is currently replacing Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luyang in New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District.
In an interview with The New York Times, Plame said that her ex-husband never regrets his decision. to publicly oppose and question the reasons for the Bush administration to go to war with Iraq. Claims that the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction proved to be incorrect.
"He did it because he felt it was his responsibility as a citizen," she said. "It's not made of partisan motivation, even though it spins."