Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007) is a memoir by Valerie Plame Wilson. Mrs. Wilson is the former CIA covert officer whose then-classified covert identity was leaked to the press in July 2003, after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV, had criticized the George W. Bush administration''s rationale for the Iraq War.
The phrase "fair game" in the title of Mrs. Wilson''s memoir refers to a comment that President George W. Bush''s Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Strategic Planning and Senior Advisor Karl Rove reportedly told Chris Matthews, the host of NBC''s television show Hardball with Chris Matthews: "I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. He says, and I quote, ''Wilson''s wife is fair game.
"Fair Game" serves as a metaphor derived from more recent contexts of her life that the author relates in this book; given the nature of covert espionage, it may suggest multiple meanings, which will become clear after its publication.
After the title of Valerie Plame Wilson''s book had already been widely disseminated, on August 19, 2007, on Meet the Press with David Gregory, Gregory asked Rove, who identified himself as an "avid Republican", among other statements pertaining to the CIA leak grand jury investigation attributed to him, whether he "considered her fair game in this debate" between her husband and The White House over the President''s so-called "sixteen words". Rove responded that the phrase "fair game" attributed to him by Chris Matthews was Matthews'' phrase not his own and that he himself did not consider Mrs. Wilson (in Gregory''s phrase) "an appropropriate target in this debate.