Thursday, March 02, 2017

Now in DC, a Jacqueline E. Lawton inspired play about Valerie Plame.

March 1, 2017
By Alan Katz
JL: Yes, the Power Plays series.
AK: Which is a series of commissions from Arena. So, what was the mission part of your commission?
JL: When I got the call for the commission, we knew it would be about DC politics and power [which is part of the series]. I knew that I wanted a woman at the center of the play. A woman whose experience influenced the political landscape and shaped the conversations that we have. There’s so many people who that could be.
One important thing that I brought to the play was my family experience: my father and grandfather were both in military intelligence. So I’ve always been transfixed by the CIA and the world of intelligence. When you look at intelligence, it’s all about gathering information so that a decision can be made. But the thing is, those decisions are based on the shape of the intelligence as it is presented. What gets dangerous is when intelligence is influenced by ideology. That’s exactly what happened in 2003 when Bush took us into Iraq.
We went into Iraq based on a series of lies, and there’s no getting around that. It wasn’t like 1991. There weren’t mass graves. They weren’t 6 months away from being able to  launch missiles into Israel. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Then something interesting happened. This diplomat, Joseph Wilson, was sent to investigate something that the government already knew to be untrue: that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger. Then he wrote an article for the New York Times called “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” and because it revealed these administration lies, there was a big effort to retaliate, to embarrass or otherwise discredit him. That’s when this group of powerful men in the administration—Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney—out Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA covert operative. And they did so to prove nepotism, which used to be something no one wanted to be accused of in the government....