William Casey Biography

William Joseph Casey (March 13, 1913 – May 6, 1987) was a Republican politician in the United States who was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1981 to 1987. In this capacity he oversaw the entire United States Intelligence Community and personally directed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

A native of Elmhurst, Queens, New York, Casey graduated from Fordham University in 1934 and earned a law degree from St. John's University School of Law in 1937. During World War II, he worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) — the predecessor to the CIA — where he became head of its Secret Intelligence Branch in Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement.

Casey ran as a "Javits Republican" for New York's 3rd congressional district in 1966, but was defeated in the primary by former Congressman Steven Derounian. After practicing corporate law in New York, he served in the Nixon Administration as the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1971 to 1973; this position led to his being called as a prosecution witness against former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans in an influence-peddling case stemming from international financier Robert Vesco's $200,000 contribution to the Nixon reelection campaign. He then served as Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs for 1973-74. He was a co-founder of the Manhattan Institute in 1978. He is the father-in-law of Owen Smith, the president of Friends of the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Site in Oyster Bay.