Diplomat Joseph Wilson, who challenged lead-up to Iraq war, dies at 69

Diplomat Joseph Wilson, whose disagreements with the George W. Bush administration led to his then-wife Valerie Plame being outed as a CIA agent, died Friday, according to The New York Times.

Wilson, 69, died of organ failure at his home in Sante Fe, N.M., Plame told the news outlet.


Wilson was a diplomat for 23 years. In 2002, the Times reported that he was sent to Niger by the CIA to see if the African nation had sold material to Saddam Hussein to build weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Wilson later wrote an op-ed in the Times titled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," pushing back on the Bush administration's arguments leading up to the war in Iraq.

"If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand (though I would be very interested to know why),” Wilson wrote at the time. “If, however, the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses."

Wilson's wife was later outed by journalist Robert Novak, which in turn led to the conviction of then-Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby for lying to reporters and obstruction of justice.

Wilson and Plame divorced earlier this year.

Plame praised Wilson on Friday, calling him "an American hero."