Joe Wilsonís career in international politics has been marked with numerous senior government appointments, including that of special assistant to President Clinton and ambassador to Gabon. He was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Service from 1976-1998, serving the administrations of both parties and has held posts throughout Africa. From 1988-1991, he was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The last American official to meet with Saddam Hussein before the start of the 1990 Gulf War, Wilson was the acting U.S. ambassador in Iraq throughout Operation Desert Storm.
In 2002, Wilson was assigned by the Bush administration to investigate reports that Hussein was seeking to acquire uranium for the advancement of Iraq's nuclear program. Wilson reported that he found no basis for the claims, and in a 2003 New York Timesí article, suggested that the Bush administration had exaggerated the threat of the Iraqi nuclear program. Soon after, the employment of his wife, CIA Operative Valerie Plame-Wilson, was revealed, leading Wilson to charge that White House officials leaked his wife's covert identity as retaliation for his New York Times denouncement. This allegation has led to an investigation into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, in addition to sparking a running debate regarding journalism ethics. His best-selling book The Politics of Truth chronicles this chain of events.
In October 2003, Wilson received the Ron Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling from the Fertel Foundation and the Nation Institute, awarded to an individual or organization that has brought an important issue to light. Other honors include the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award, the Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, and the American Foreign Service Association William R. Rivkin Award.
A California native and graduate of UC-Santa Barbara, Wilson manages JCWilson International Ventures, a consulting firm specializing in strategic management and international-business their development. He resides in New Mexico with his wife Valerie and two children.