Open main menu

William Joseph Casey (March 13, 1913 – May 6, 1987) 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).[1][2][3][4]

Bill Casey
William J. Casey, Director of Central Intelligence.jpg
Director of Central Intelligence
In office
January 28, 1981 – January 29, 1987
PresidentRonald Reagan
DeputyFrank Carlucci
Bobby Ray Inman
John N. McMahon
Robert Gates
Preceded byStansfield Turner
Succeeded byWilliam H. Webster
Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
In office
February 2, 1973 – March 14, 1974
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byThomas C. Mann
Succeeded byCharles W. Robinson
Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission
In office
April 14, 1971 – February 2, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byHamer H. Budge
Succeeded byG. Bradford Cook
Personal details
Born
William Joseph Casey

(1913-03-13)March 13, 1913
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 6, 1987(1987-05-06) (aged 74)
Roslyn Harbor, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationFordham University (BS)
St. John's University, New York (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
UnitUnited States Naval Reserve
Battles/warsWorld War II

EducationEdit

A native of Elmhurst, Queens, New York, Casey graduated from the Jesuit-affiliated and Catholic, Fordham University in 1934. He completed graduate work at the Catholic University of America before earning an LL.B. from another Catholic university, the St. John's University School of Law in 1937.

CareerEdit

Early careerEdit

Following his admission to the bar, he was a partner in the New York–based Buckner, Casey, Doran and Siegel from 1938 to 1942. Concurrently, as chairman of the board of editors of the Research Institute of America (1938–1949),[5] Casey initially conceptualized the tax shelter and "explained to businessmen how little they need[ed] to do in order to stay on the right side of New Deal regulatory legislation."[6]

World War II & OSSEdit

During World War II, he worked for the Office of Strategic Services, where he became head of its Secret Intelligence Branch in Europe.[4][7] He served in the United States Naval Reserve until December 1944 before remaining in his OSS position as a civilian until his resignation in September 1945; as an officer, he attained the rank of lieutenant and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement.

Postwar business and government careerEdit

Following the dissolution of the OSS in September 1945, Casey returned to his legal and business ventures. After serving as a special counsel to the United States Senate (1947–1948) and associate general counsel to the Point Four Program (1948),[5] Casey founded the Institute for Business Planning in 1950; there, he amassed much of his early wealth (compounded by investments) by writing several data-driven publications on business law.[8] He was a lecturer in tax law at the New York University School of Law from 1948 to 1962.[5] From 1957 to 1971, he was a partner at Hall, Casey, Dickler & Howley, a New York corporate law firm, under the auspices of founding partner and prominent Republican politician Leonard W. Hall.[5] He ran as a Republican for New York's 3rd congressional district in 1966, but was defeated in the primary by former Congressman Steven Derounian.[9]

Nixon & Ford administrationsEdit

He served in the Nixon administration as the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1971 to 1973;[4][10] 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.[11]

He then served as Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (1973-1974)[4] and chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (1974–1976). During this era, he was also a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1975–1976) and of counsel to Rogers & Wells (1976–1981).

Return to private workEdit

With Antony Fisher, he co-founded the Manhattan Institute in 1978. He is the father-in-law of Owen Smith, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of World Politics and Professor Emeritus at Long Island University.[12]

Reagan campaign & transitionEdit

As campaign manager of Ronald Reagan's successful presidential campaign in 1980, Casey helped to broker Reagan's unlikely alliance with vice presidential nominee George H. W. Bush.[13] He then served on the transition team following the election.

Director of Central IntelligenceEdit

After Reagan took office, Reagan named Casey to the post of Director of Central Intelligence.[14] Outgoing Director Stansfield Turner characterized the appointment as the "Resurrection of Wild Bill," referring to Bill Donovan, the brilliant and eccentric head of Office of Strategic Services in World War II, whom Casey greatly admired.[15]

Despite Casey's background in intelligence, the position was not his first choice; according to Rhoda Koenig, he only agreed to take the appointment after being assured that "he could have a hand in shaping foreign policy rather than simply reporting the data on which it was based."[6]

Ronald Reagan used prominent Catholics in his government to brief Pope John Paul II of developments in the Cold War. Casey would fly secretly to Rome in a windowless C-141 black jet and "be taken undercover to the Vatican.[16]

Casey oversaw the re-expansion of the Intelligence Community to funding and human resource levels greater than those existing before the preceding Carter Administration; in particular, he increased levels within the CIA. During his tenure, post-Watergate and Church Committee restrictions were controversially lifted on the use of the CIA to directly and covertly influence the internal and foreign affairs of countries relevant to American policy.[citation needed]

This period of the Cold War saw an increase in the Agency's global, anti-Soviet activities, which started under the Carter Doctrine in late 1980.

Iran–Contra affairEdit

Casey was suspected, by some, of involvement with the controversial Iran-Contra affair, in which Reagan administration personnel secretly traded arms to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and secretly diverted some of the resulting income to aid the rebel Contras in Nicaragua, in violation of U.S. law. Casey was called to testify before Congress about his knowledge of the affair. On 15 December, 1986, one day before Casey was scheduled to testify before Congress, Casey suffered two seizures and was hospitalized. Three days later, Casey underwent surgery for a previously undiagnosed brain tumor.[1][2][3][4][7][17] Casey died in hospital less than 24 hours after former colleague Richard Secord testified that Casey supported the illegal aiding of the Contras.[1][2][3][17]

In his November 1987 book, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981–1987, Washington Post reporter and biographer Bob Woodward, who had interviewed Casey on a number of occasions for the biography, said that he had gained entry into Casey's hospital room for a final, four-minute encounter—a claim which was met with disbelief in many quarters as well as an adamant denial from Casey's wife, Sofia. According to Woodward, when Casey was asked if he knew about the diversion of funds to the Nicaraguan Contras, "His head jerked up hard. He stared, and finally nodded yes."[18]

In his final report submitted in August 1993, Independent Counsel, Lawrence E. Walsh indicated evidence of Casey's involvement:

"There is evidence that Casey played a role as a Cabinet-level advocate both in setting up the covert network to resupply the contras during the Boland funding cut-off, and in promoting the secret arms sales to Iran in 1985 and 1986. In both instances, Casey was acting in furtherance of broad policies established by President Reagan.

"There is evidence that Casey, working with two national security advisers to President Reagan during the period 1984 through 1986 -- Robert C. McFarlane and Vice Admiral John M. Poindexter -- approved having these operations conducted out of the National Security Council staff with Lt. Col. Oliver L. North as the action officer, assisted by retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord. And although Casey tried to insulate himself and the CIA from any illegal activities relating to the two secret operations,... there is evidence that he was involved in at least some of those activities and may have attempted to keep them concealed from Congress."[4]

However, Walsh also wrote: "Independent Counsel obtained no documentary evidence showing Casey knew about or approved the diversion. The only direct testimony linking Casey to early knowledge of the diversion came from [Oliver] North."[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Casey, a Catholic, was a member of the Knights of Malta.[19]

DeathEdit

Casey died of a brain tumor on May 6, 1987 at the age of 74. His Requiem Mass was said by Fr. Daniel Fagan, then pastor of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Roslyn, New York. It was attended by President Reagan and the First Lady. Casey is buried in the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, New York. He was survived by his wife, the former Sophia Kurz (d. 2000), and his daughter, Bernadette Casey Smith.[20]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Pace, Eric, "William Casey, Ex-C.I.A. Head, Is Dead At 74,", May 7, 1987, New York Times, retrieved February 20, 2019
  2. ^ a b c Smith, J.Y., "Former CIA Director William J. Casey Dies,", May 7, 1987, Washington Post, retrieved February 20, 2019
  3. ^ a b c Michael Kilian, "Former CIA Director William J. Casey Dies at 74,", May 7, 1987, Chicago Tribune, retrieved February 20, 2019
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Walsh, Lawrence E., Independent Counsel, "Chapter 15: William J. Casey" in Part VI: "Investigations and Cases: Officers of the Central Intelligence Agency," (page 199 et.seq.) in Vol. I: "Investigations and Prosecutions," of the Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, August 4, 1993, Division for the Purpose of Appointing Independent Counsel, Division No. 86-6, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Distrocit of Columbia Circuit, Washington, D.C., as transcribed on the site of the Federation of American Scientists, retrieved Feb. 21, 2019
  5. ^ a b c d http://search.marquiswhoswho.com/profile/100002210454
  6. ^ a b "Basket Casey". New York Magazine. October 15, 1990 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ a b Pace, Eric (May 7, 1987). "Obituary of Mr William Casey". New York Times. Mr. Casey, after serving as chief of secret intelligence in Europe for the Office of Strategic Services in World War II,
  8. ^ http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt1s20357r/entire_text/
  9. ^ Wolfgang Saxon (April 20, 2007). "Steven B. Derounian, 89, Judge and Nassau Ex-Congressman, Dies". New York Times.
  10. ^ Nomination of William J. Casey: Hearings, Ninety-second Congress, first session, on the nomination of William J. Casey to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission. February 10 and March 9, 1971.
  11. ^ Woodward, Bob (1987). VEIL: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 51.
  12. ^ http://www.iwp.edu/about/page/board-of-trustees
  13. ^ Pace, Eric (May 7, 1987). "William Casey, Ex-C.I.A. Head, Is Dead At 74".
  14. ^ Nomination of William J. Casey: Hearing Before the Select Committee on Intelligence, of the United States Senate, Ninety-seventh Congress, First Session, on Nomination of William J. Casey, to be Director of Central Intelligence, Tuesday, January 13, 1981, Volume 4.
  15. ^ Burn Before Reading, Stansfield Turner, Hyperion, 2005, first page of chapter on Ronald Reagan
  16. ^ Officials say pope, Reagan shared Cold War data, but lacked alliance, Catholic News Service, Nov-17-2004 Archived 2013-01-18 at Archive.today
  17. ^ a b McCullough, James "Coping With Iran-Contra" in Personal Reflections on Bill Casey's Last Month at CIA, Central Intelligence Agency, retrieved February 20, 2019
  18. ^ "Did A Dead Man Tell No Tales?" by Richard Zoglin, Time, October 12, 1987
  19. ^ Phelan, Matthew (2011-02-28) Seymour Hersh and the men who want him committed Archived 2011-03-02 at the Wayback Machine, Salon.com
  20. ^ "On October 5, 2000, of Roslyn Harbor. Beloved wife of the late William J. Casey, former Director of Central Intelligence. Loving mother of Bernadette Casey Smith". The New York Times. October 9, 2000.

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Hamer H. Budge
Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission
1971–1973
Succeeded by
G. Bradford Cook
Preceded by
Stansfield Turner
Director of Central Intelligence
1981–1987
Succeeded by
William H. Webster
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas C. Mann
Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Charles W. Robinson