William E. Colby

Former Director of the CIA


William E. Colby (1920-1996) was director of the CIA from 1973 through 1975. During World War II he served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and in 1944 was dropped by parachute behind enemy lines in German-occupied France, where he commanded a squad of saboteurs.

After obtaining a law degree in1947, he reentered government, joined the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1950 and served in U.S. embassies in Sweden (1951–53), Italy (1953–58), and South Vietnam (1959–62). In 1962 he was recalled to Washington as chief (1962–67) of the Far East division of the CIA, where he helped direct the controversial Phoenix Intelligence Program, part of the U.S. pacification efforts in South Vietnam.