William H. Webster

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William Webster
Chairperson of the Homeland Security Advisory Council
Assumed office
March 19, 2002
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Deputy James Schlesinger
William Bratton
Preceded by Position established
14th Director of Central Intelligence
In office
May 26, 1987 – August 31, 1991
President Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded by William Casey
Succeeded by Robert Gates
3rd Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
In office
February 23, 1978 – May 25, 1987
President Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
Preceded by James Adams (Acting)
Succeeded by John Otto (Acting)
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
In office
July 18, 1973 – February 22, 1978
Appointed by Richard Nixon
Preceded by Marion Matthes
Succeeded by Theodore McMillian
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
In office
December 21, 1970 – July 18, 1973
Appointed by Richard Nixon
Preceded by Seat established
Succeeded by John Nangle
Personal details
Born William Hedgcock Webster
(1924-03-06) March 6, 1924 (age 91)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Drusilla Lane Webster (1950–1984)
Lynda Clugston (1990–present)
Alma mater Amherst College
Washington University
Religion Christian Science

William Hedgcock Webster (born March 6, 1924) [1] is an American attorney, jurist, and current Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.[2]

He was a federal judge before becoming Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1978 to 1987, and then Director of Central Intelligence (CIA) from 1987 to 1991[3] - the only person to have held both these positions.

Early life and career[edit]

He was born in St. Louis and received his early education in Webster Groves;[4] he received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts where he was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity, in 1947 and his Juris Doctor degree from the Law School of Washington University in St. Louis in 1949.

After serving as a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II, he joined a St. Louis firm, but left private practice soon after to begin a long and illustrious career in public service. He was a United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri from 1960 to 1961, then a member of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners from 1964 to 1969.

In 1970, Webster was appointed a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, and in 1973 he was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Director of the FBI and CIA[edit]

Five years later, President Jimmy Carter appointed him as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[5] Then in 1987, President Ronald Reagan chose him to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He led the CIA until his retirement from public office in 1991. Since then, Webster has practiced law at the Washington D.C. office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy where he specializes in arbitration, mediation and internal investigation.


In 2002 he was the first chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). However, his appointment was controversial, and another controversy erupted when newspapers reported that Webster had served on the board audit committee of U.S. Technologies, a high-tech company being investigated for accounting irregularities. Webster resigned less than three weeks after the PCAOB was set up.[6]

William Webster (right) with Dick Cheney (left) and Brent Scowcroft (center)

Honors and awards[edit]

Webster received numerous honors and awards for his service. Washington University granted him the Alumni Citation for contributions to the field of law in 1972 and in 1981 he received the William Greenleaf Eliot Award. In 1984, he received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[7] In 1999 the School of Law created the Webster Society, an outstanding scholars program. Furthermore, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the university's law school in 1977. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat named him "Man of the Year."

He also received honorary degrees from several colleges and universities. In 1991, he was presented the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Security Medal. In June 2008 Webster received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree as well as honorary doctorates from The Institute of World Politics and National Intelligence University.[8] He received the William J. Donovan Award from The OSS Society in 2005 and serves as an honorary chairman of this organization.

He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Council of the American Law Institute, the Order of the Coif, the Missouri Bar Integrated the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Corporation, Banking and Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He served as Co-chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. In 2009, he was named to head an independent investigation of the FBI's actions surrounding the Fort Hood shooting.[9]

Personal life[edit]

He was married for 34 years to Drusilla Lane Webster, and the couple had three children: Drusilla, William H. Webster, Jr. and Katherine. Following Mrs. Webster's death in 1984, he was remarried in 1990 to the former Lynda Clugston. They reside in Washington, DC.


On March 3, 2002 the University of California, Santa Barbara, held a debate titled "National Security vs. Personal Liberty". The guest speakers were Mr. Webster and American Civil Liberties Union President Nadine Strossen. During the debate, Mr. Webster made the following statement,[citation needed] which has since gained some popularity: "Security is always seen as too much until the day it's not enough..." He also stated "Order protects liberty and liberty protects order."


External links[edit]

Legal offices
New seat Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Succeeded by
John Nangle
Preceded by
Marion Matthes
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Succeeded by
Theodore McMillian
Government offices
Preceded by
James Adams
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Succeeded by
John Otto
Preceded by
William Casey
Director of Central Intelligence
Succeeded by
Robert Gates
New office Chairperson of the Homeland Security Advisory Council