William H. Webster

Senior Fellow

Judge William H. Webster began his career in public service when appointed a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. In 1973, he was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Webster was appointed director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 and served until 1987 when President Ronald Reagan chose him to be director of Central Intelligence. He led the CIA until his retirement from public office in 1991.

Webster practiced law at the Washington office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and retired in 2005 but remains active in the practice of law. Judge Webster was named in 2006 as the chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council which provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary on matters related to homeland security.

In 1991, Webster was presented the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Security Medal. He is the recipient of the 2001 Justice Award of the American Judicature Society and the 2002 ABA Medal, its highest honor. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and has also received NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal.

Webster earned bachelor’s degrees in history and political science, as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, from Amherst College. He received his law degree from Washington University. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy in World War II and again in the Korean War.

Experience