Hollywood hit job: ‘Fair Game’ propagates easily disprovable myths about lead up to Iraq War

It is an equation that is as certain as two plus two equals four: Sean Penn + Iraq War + Hollywood movie = something less than the truth.

And so it is with director Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” starring Penn and released last Friday, despite Liman’s contention that he made strenuous efforts to depict only those claims he could back up. “I exercised the kind of restraint you don’t normally see from a Hollywood filmmaker,” Liman told The Daily Caller in an interview Monday. “I stuck to the facts.”


The movie bills itself as “inspired by true events” and frames itself around the Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame affair. Wilson, played by Penn, was the former American diplomat sent to Niger by the CIA in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq was trying to buy uranium for its purported nuclear weapons program from the African country.

The results of Wilson’s trip were viewed as largely meaningless by the CIA. But months after President George W. Bush said in his State of the Union address in 2003 in the lead up to the Iraq War that British intelligence believed that Iraq had been seeking uranium from Africa, Wilson sprung into action — claiming that he disproved the possibility of the Iraq-Niger uranium deal and suggesting the Bush administration may have been intentionally using dubious intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.

By the time Wilson began talking to the press, the Iraq War had begun and the American people were becoming disturbed that no Weapons of Mass Destruction had yet been found. In July 2003, Wilson famously wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, entitled “What I didn’t find in Africa,” suggesting perfidy on the part of the Bush administration.

After the op-ed appeared, the late columnist Robert Novak wrote a column indicating that sources told him that Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame (played in the movie by Naomi Watts), was a CIA operative that recommended Wilson be sent to Niger. The revelation led the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked Valerie Plame’s identity to Novak since intentionally revealing a covert operative’s identity is a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

The special prosecutor discovered early on that the main source for Novak’s article was State Department official Richard Armitage. Ironically, despite claims that the revelation of Wilson’s wife’s name was done by Bush administration proponents of the Iraq War seeking to discredit Wilson and his claims, Armitage was against going to war in Iraq, at least at the time the Bush administration initiated the invasion. (Novak, too, was an ardent opponent of the Iraq War.)

You wouldn’t know this by watching Liman’s “Fair Game,” since Armitage is nowhere to be found — except in script at the very end. The narrative that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff Scooter Libby were nefarious behind-the-scenes players intent on destroying innocent reputations while pushing the nation into war on false pretenses fits too nicely into Liman and Hollywood’s leftwing vision. You can’t, after all, let facts spoil a cinematic anti-Bush diatribe.

But because the truth matters to some, here is a factual breakdown of the film’s most major inaccuracies:

  • jeffc

    I’m sure Hampton would be fine with a movie that showed Obama being born in Kenya, paling around with terrorist Ayers and thoughtfully listening to the Rev Wrights antisemitic and racists sermons …

    I mean it would just be a movie right ?

  • jeffc

    Plame never once set foot in Iraq … she was a desk jockey before the war …
    google yellow cake, iraq and canada … suprise, suprise …
    seems like Iraq managed to by 500 metric tons of it “somewhere” …

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  • hampton

    It’s a fricking movie, people. Get over it.

  • ladylove

    Penn supports Obama

    He thinks Chavez, is a great guy

    and he had no use for Bush ( on that only can I agree)

    now just how do you think Penn wants this movie to be portrayed

  • libertyatstake

    No doubt co-starring Mike Myers, in Dr. Evil costume, as Dick Cheney.

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • loudog

    Fun to watch when the segment of society who claims to trust the wisdom and intentions of government the least gives government blind trust and faith, even in the face of distortions and exaggerations.

    • jonavark

      calm down Lou.. we’re just knocking a bad movie.. one of many entrepreneurial adventures of the Wilson kooks as they tried to sell out. Their credibility is lost on those who are tired of hearing and seeing them .. especially after monetizing their misfortune so aggressively.

      • talibangelical

        Ha! When $arah quits here elected office to cash in, you have no problem with that. When an outed CIA agent tries to make a little cash, you have an issue with that.