- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV recently bought his wife something special in a downtown shop: a red-and-blue pin that reads, “I’m not anti-Bush. I’m pro-intelligence.”

Mr. Wilson and his wife, outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, are finally getting a chance to unwind. Three weeks ago, they arrived at their new 4,600-square-foot hilltop adobe home in this liberal-leaning tourist town. They have traded in their Jaguar for a pickup truck, and their 7-year-old twins already have found new friends.

There’s a book deal in the works, a movie on the horizon and a pending federal lawsuit that names Vice President Dick Cheney, presidential adviser Karl Rove and others.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Wilson said it will take a couple of years to sort through the remains of this recent period, in which the couple was “dropped into the political maelstrom.”

In July 2003, Mr. Wilson accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence on Iraq, and Mrs. Plame’s CIA identity was leaked to reporters. Mr. Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was convicted last month of lying to a grand jury and to FBI agents investigating the disclosure.

Perched on the windowsill of his downtown office, Mr. Wilson said: “What has changed is, as we look at all this, we look at it from Santa Fe, rather than downtown Washington. And that in and of itself is positive.”

Being a step removed provides a healthier perspective, he said.

“How nice to be able to think about things other than the daily grind of what people increasingly call ‘the swamp’ in Washington,” Mr. Wilson said. “I still have my BlackBerry. … Valerie’s trying to wean me from that.”

Mr. Wilson, 57, said he and his wife, 43 — who declined to be interviewed for this story — always planned to leave Washington when she retired from the CIA; the events of the past few years just speeded up the move.

“We were not Washingtonians,” said Mr. Wilson, who noted that much of Mrs. Plame’s career, and nearly all of his, was spent overseas. “We always thought about moving someplace where we could raise our kids.”

Mrs. Plame’s book, with a working title of “Fair Game,” should be out this fall from Simon & Schuster, according to Mr. Wilson.

The couple is consulting with screenwriters as Warner Bros. develops a film based on their lives.

Arguments in their civil lawsuit against Mr. Cheney and others are scheduled for May 17, and one of them likely will attend.

But mostly, the Wilson family is just settling in.

High on his to-do list is to meet the mayor, the city manager, the police chief and the fire chief, Mr. Wilson said. “I’m a big fan of first responders, and I want to go introduce myself and introduce my kids,” he said.

Neither he nor Mrs. Plame see the events of the past four years as being a final chapter, but rather look forward to giving it “its proper place in our lives.”

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