Former Ambassador and Attorney to Address First Amendment Issues in White House Leak Case

Lexington, VA Thursday, March 31, 2005Their talk, "The White House Leak Saga: From Robert Novak to Contempt Citations Against Reporters from Time and The New York Times," is open to the public without charge. It is sponsored by W&L's Knight Program in Journalism Ethics and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.


Former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV
Wilson, who was ambassador to Gabon under President George H. W. Bush and later served as special assistant to the President and senior director for African affairs in President Clinton's National Security Council, was sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate whether the African nation was helping Iraq obtain nuclear weapons. He returned to report that he had found no credible evidence, and in July 2003 authored an op-ed in the New York Times questioning evidence that the second Bush administration used to justify the war in Iraq.

The following week, syndicated columnist Robert Novak quoted anonymous government sources in identifying Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative monitoring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The source of the leak-- an unprecedented and potentially criminal act--is currently the subject of a federal grand jury investigation in Washington, D.C.


Christopher Wolf '80L
Wilson and Wolf will present an overview of the events leading to the ongoing grand jury investigation and a discussion of the First Amendment issues raised by the case.

Prior to his post in the Clinton administration, Wilson served for two years as political advisor to the commander-in-chief of United States Armed Forces, Europe. He was the U.S. Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe from 1992-95. From 1998-91, Wilson served in Baghdad as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy. During ''Desert Shield'' he was the acting Ambassador and was responsible for the negotiations that resulted in the release of several hundred American hostages. He was the last official American to meet with Saddam Hussein before the launching of ''Desert Storm.''

Wilson was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976 until 1998, with assignments including Niamey, Niger; Lome, Togo; the State Department Bureau of African Affairs; Pretoria, South Africa; Bujumbura, Burundi; and Brazzaville, Congo.

A 1972 graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, Wilson is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, the University of California, Santa Barbara Distinguished Alumnus Award and the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award.

Wilson, now chief executive officer of J.C. Wilson International Ventures Corp., a consulting firm that specializes in strategic management and international business development, is the author of "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir."

Wolf is a 1980 graduate of Washington and Lee University's School of Law, where he also serves as an adjunct professor. A litigation partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Proskauer Rose LLP, Wolf's practice focuses on privacy, the First Amendment, technology and the Internet.

One of the first attorneys to be involved in the field of electronic privacy law, Wolf successfully challenged the U.S. Navy in federal court under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act for their improper contact with AOL. He is frequently called upon for advice, counsel and representation on privacy law matters including those under EU and foreign law, as well as federal statutes and the growing body of state law. He has served as counsel for each of the U.S. airlines accused of privacy law violations arising from their cooperation on security matters, and currently represents a couple who had their images misappropriated, and privacy violated, for an online advertising and lobbying campaign of the group USA Next.

Wolf has written or spoken on Internet and privacy law at institutions including Harvard and Stanford Law Schools, the Brookings Institution, the Second Circuit Judicial Conference, the Bar Association of the City of New York, and at international conferences in Sweden, France and Israel. He is a regular commentator on NBC, CNN and MSNBC.

Wolf graduated in 1976 from Bowdoin College and was a General Course participant at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has served as chair of the Washington, D.C. Governing Board of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and on the national ADL Executive Committee; as president of the board of Food & Friends, a social service agency; and as a longtime member of the board of the National Symphony Orchestra.

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