Ex-spy Plame has two films at Cannes
CANNES – IT SOUNDS like a movie script: a glamorous US spy betrayed by her government in a political scandal linked to arms deals and the Iraq war.
Five years ago the 47-year-old blonde was a secret operative for the CIA, a dangerous counter-proliferation job linked to the hunt for suspected weapons of mass destruction that were used by the US government as a pretext for war.
Now she is immersed in the movie industry, awaiting the premiere of a film dramatisation of her real-life story: the alleged plot by members of George W. Bush’s administration to blow her cover. ‘If none of that other stuff had happened, if my covert identity had not been betrayed by my government, then no doubt I would be still with the CIA somewhere overseas and getting a great sense of satisfaction,’ she told AFP.
On Thursday audiences will see Ms Plame embodied by actress Naomi Watts in Doug Liman’s movie, Fair Game. She also appears in another film at Cannes, as an expert witness in a documentary about the threat from nuclear weapons. That film, Countdown to Zero by British film-maker Lucy Walker, screened here on Sunday. Ms Plame’s story dates back to 2003, when her cover was blown in a scandal targeting her and her husband, former US ambassador Joseph Wilson, played by Sean Penn in Liman’s film.
Mr Wilson visited Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear bombs and later publicly cast doubt on Mr Bush’s claims about them, saying he may have invaded Iraq under false pretences. When Ms Plame’s identity was subsequently leaked to a journalist, the couple alleged it was revenge by the White House for Mr Wilson’s opposition to the war.
A top White House official, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, was sentenced to jail for perjury and obstructing a probe of the leak. Mr Bush commuted the jail term but did not grant him a full pardon. Libby is played in Fair Game by the US actor David Andrews.