2004 / Joseph Wilson
Joseph Wilson, former ambassador to two African nations – Gabon, and São Tomé and Príncipe – and the senior American diplomat in Baghdad during the first Gulf War, was recognized for challenging the assertion in President Bush’s State of the Union address that Iraq had sought to purchase significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Wilson investigated the charge at the request of the CIA on a trip to Niger and reported back that it was “highly unlikely.” Wilson’s revelation called into question the Bush Administration’s truthfulness, and undermined its claim that it had ample evidence to justify an invasion of Iraq.
“Thanks to Joseph Wilson and those like him, we have access to truth instead of ‘spin,’ ” said Fertel Foundation president Randy Fertel. “His courageous act came at a high personal cost, when this career diplomat and his wife were attacked by the conservative press. However, in the spirit of Ron Ridenhour and My Lai, the benefits of his action to foreign policy and to our democracy were great.”