William H. Webster

Senior Adviser (Non-resident), Transnational Threats Project
Associated Programs: Transnational Threats Project

Judge William H. Webster is currently the Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). Judge Webster was sworn in as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on May 26, 1987. In this position he headed the United States intelligence community and directed the CIA until September 1991. Following his departure from the CIA, he joined the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP in Washington, DC. Webster served as United States attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri from 1960 to 1961. In 1970, he was appointed a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and in 1973 was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. During his service on the bench, Webster was chairman of the Judiciary Conference Advisory Committee on the Criminal Rules and was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Habeas Corpus and the Committee of Court Administration. He resigned on February 23, 1978 to become director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he served for nearly a decade before moving on to lead all foreign intelligence agencies of the United States as CIA director.

On July 1, 1991 Judge Webster was presented the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and on July 25, 1991 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Security Medal. Webster earned bachelor’s degrees in history and political science, as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He received his law degree from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1949. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy in World War II and again in the Korean War. He is a member of the Aspen Homeland Security Group.