Hollywood Lies About Plame
The editors of the Washington Post want you to know that “Fair Game,” the new movie about the Valerie Plame affair, is “Hollywood myth making.” Propaganda and lies is more like it.
Said Mr. Wilson: “For people who have short memories or don’t read, this is the only way they will remember that period.”
We certainly hope that is not the case. In fact, “Fair Game,” based on books by Mr. Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions – not to mention outright inventions. To start with the most sensational: The movie portrays Ms. Plame as having cultivated a group of Iraqi scientists and arranged for them to leave the country, and it suggests that once her cover was blown, the operation was aborted and the scientists were abandoned. This is simply false. In reality, as The Post’s Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby reported, Ms. Plame did not work directly on the program, and it was not shut down because of her identification.
The movie portrays Mr. Wilson as a whistle-blower who debunked a Bush administration claim that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger. In fact, an investigation by the Senate intelligence committee found that Mr. Wilson’s reporting did not affect the intelligence community’s view on the matter, and an official British investigation found that President George W. Bush’s statement in a State of the Union address that Britain believed that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger was well-founded.
“Fair Game” also resells the couple’s story that Ms. Plame’s exposure was the result of a White House conspiracy. A lengthy and wasteful investigation by a special prosecutor found no such conspiracy – but it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative.
But other than that . . . .
The sad truth of the matter, though, is that Wilson is right: Fictional accounts of what happened will largely govern how people remember this. The details of the actual incident were murky and dribbled out over a long period. And, of course, people naturally filtered information through their “George W. Bush” lens. Separating truth from fiction is very difficult under those circumstances.