Careers in the intelligence field — a talk by Mary Beth Long and Valerie Plame

Mary Beth Long and Valerie Plame Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Penn State School of International Affairs advisory board members Mary Beth Long and Valerie Plame, both of whom worked for the CIA, are scheduled to speak on careers in the intelligence field from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the Sutliff Auditorium of the Lewis Katz Building on Penn State’s University Park campus. Their talk is free and open to the public.

Long, a 1985 graduate of Penn State, is a former covert operations officer in the CIA. Currently, she is the owner and founder of three companies and specializes in the African and Middle Eastern markets. She formerly served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs (the first woman to serve at that level in the Office of the Secretary of Defense), and was appointed the first female chair of NATO’s High Level Group responsible for nuclear policy. Long also was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and was the architect for the Defense Department’s initial training of Afghan police. From 1999 until May 2004, she practiced law as an associate at Williams & Connolly LLP. Long is a graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law and was an honors graduate from Penn State with a bachelor of arts in communications studies. She also attended the Taiwan National University and the Fu Ren Catholic University in Taiwan.

Plame, also a 1985 Penn State graduate, is a former covert operations officer in the CIA where she worked to protect America’s national security and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in particular, nuclear weapons. 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. Her first fictional spy thriller, written with Sarah Lovett, "Blowback," was published by Penguin in fall 2013. The second book in the series, "Burned," came out in late 2014. Plame narrated and appeared in the critically acclaimed documentary on the dangers of nuclear proliferation, “Countdown to Zero,” and is an active member of the Global Zero Leadership board. 

She has done extensive public speaking throughout the country and internationally on issues including nuclear proliferation, women in intelligence, and the NSA revelations. She has written for Newsweek, CNN, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and The Guardian. She serves as director of community outreach at the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit research think tank dedicated to multidisciplinary collaboration in the sciences. She serves on the boards of United Way of Santa Fe County, the Ploughshares Fund, Postpartum Support International, Starling Trust, and Global Data Sentinel. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Penn State, she also holds graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband, Joe Wilson, and their two children. 

Last Updated September 30, 2015