Valerie Plame, former CIA Spy: My Story and Lessons Learned

Valerie Plame, a former career covert CIA operations officer, will give a public talk titled“Valerie Plame, former CIA Spy:  My Story and Lessons Learned” on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from 7 - 9 p.m. in Blue Ridge Ballroom in the Plemmons Student Union with a book signing to follow. This event is free and open to the campus and community.

A University-wide event for all undergraduate and graduate students with a talk entitled: “A Conversation with Valerie Plame, former CIA Spy” will take place on Monday, April 29, 2019 from 12-2 p.m. in Grandfather Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union.

Valerie Plame worked to protect America’s national security and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons. During her career with the CIA, Plame managed top-secret covert programs designed to keep terrorists and rogue nation states from acquiring nuclear weapons. This involved decision making at senior levels, recruiting foreign assets, deploying resources around the world, managing multi-million dollar budgets, briefing U.S. policy-makers and demonstrating consistently solid judgment in a field where mistakes could prove disastrous to national security. She was also involved in covert cyber operations and counterterrorism efforts in Europe and the Middle East.

A graduate of Penn State, Plame holds graduate degrees in International Relations from the London School of Economics and the College of Europe. She now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and sits on the boards of Global Data Security, a cyber security company and Starling Trust, a predictive behavioral analytics company that interprets and forecasts behavioral trends. She also serves on the nonprofit boards of Global Zero, the United Way of Santa Fe County and Postpartum Support International. Plame is affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute, a trans-disciplinary scientific think tank created by two Nobel Prize winners to address the most compelling and complex problems in the world today.

Plame has done extensive public speaking throughout the country and internationally on issues including cyber security, national security, nuclear proliferation, women in intelligence and the NSA revelations. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House,” which was released as a major motion picture of the same name starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. Along with Sarah Lovett, she has published the well-received fictional spy thrillers “Blowback”and “Burned.” She also served as the narrator and appeared as an expert in the film “Countdown to Zero,” a documentary on the threat of nuclear war.

Her books are available for purchase at the University Bookstore and credit card-only purchases of the books will be available at the events along with a book-signing opportunity following the evening lecture.

Valerie Plame’s visit to Appalachian is sponsored by the Department of Government and Justice Studies, the College of Arts and  Sciences, the Office of International Education and Development (OIED), the Department of History, Walker College of Business, Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studiesand the Department of Sociology.  


About the Department of Government and Justice Studies
Appalachian State University’s Department of Government and Justice Studies offers undergraduate programs in political science and criminal justice, and graduate programs in political science and public administration. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the department has over 600 undergraduate majors and more than 70 graduate students. Learn more at

About the Department of History
The Department of History offers a broad curriculum in local, national, regional and world history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, which encourages history majors to develop a comprehensive approach to human problems. The study of history is an essential part of a liberal arts education and offers valuable preparation for many careers, such as law, journalism, public history, public service and business, as well as in teaching and the advanced discipline of history. Learn more at

About the Department of Sociology
The Department of Sociology offers a Bachelor of Arts and six Bachelor of Science concentrations (applied research methods; criminology; deviance and law; families and intimate relationships; gerontology; social inequalities; and individually designed, which requires departmental approval). The department also offers minors in sociology and gerontology, plus two online graduate certificates in gerontology and sociology. Learn more at

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

About the Office of International Education and Development
The OIED is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society. Learn more at

About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at

About graduate education at Appalachian
Appalachian State University’s Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies helps individuals reach the next level in their career advancement and preparedness. The school offers 70 graduate degree and certificate programs in a range of disciplines, including doctoral programs in education (Ed.D.) and psychology (Psy.D.). Classes are offered at the main campus in Boone as well as online and face-to-face at locations around northwestern North Carolina. The graduate school enrolls nearly 1,800 students. Learn more at

Ellen Gwin Burnette and Andrew Scott
April 16, 2019

Valerie Plame headshot
Published: Apr 16, 2019 12:27pm