William Casey

Where and when

William J. Casey heads the United States’ foreign intelligence community and directs the Central Intelligence Agency, a position he has held since appointed by the Reagan Administration in 1981.

Casey is the first Director of Central Intelligence to be designated by the President as a cabinet officer. Also, he managed Ronald Reagan’s successful primary and presidential election campaigns in 1980.

A native of Long Island, New York, Casey graduated from Fordham University and St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, he joined the Research Institute of America, rising to become chairman of the institute’s board of editors.

He was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve during WW II, joining the wartime staff of William J. Donovan, founder of the office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s predecessor. Assigned to the European theatre, Casey received the Bronze Star for his work in coordinating French Resistance forces in support of the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of France.

Later, in 1944, he became chief of American secret intelligence operations in Europe. After the war, he served as associate general counsel at the European headquarters of the Marshall Plan. Between 1949 and 1980, he practiced law and engaged in various publishing and entrepreneurial activities in New York City.

Casey served in the early 70’s as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and later became Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and president and chairman of the Import-Export Bank of the United States. Returning to private life, he became counsel to the New York and Washington, D.C. law firm of Rogers and Wells.

Casey has authored a number of books on legal and financial subjects, as well as a history of the American Revolution.

He received the Distinguished Intelligence Medal in 1983. Also, Casey has received the William J. Donovan Award and honorary degrees from Fordham University, St. John’s University, Chung Ang University, New York Law School, Molloy College, Adelphi University, Polytechnic Institute of New York, Bryant College and Westminster College.

Casey and his wife, Sophia, have one daughter, Bernadette.