College/University: B.A. Harvard University; M.S. Columbia University
William Beecher is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington correspondent for The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times who, in more than 25 years based in Washington, made annual two-to-three month reporting trips around the world. He also served as Washington bureau chief of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
In addition, he served two tours in government: two years in the Defense Department, rising to the rank of assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs (acting), and several years as director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
He worked his way through college and grad school. After earning a B.A. in Government from Harvard University and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, Beecher served a short tour as a lieutenant in the field artillery, rising to the rank of captain in the Army Reserves before retiring.
He teaches two seminars on interpretive writing at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
As a correspondent, he broke a number of significant stories — including one, on the front page of The New York Times, on the secret bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The Nixon Administration regarded it as so secret, that Secretary of State William Rogers was denied details on the ongoing operation. When he served as a senior official in the Pentagon, Beecher saw a one-page order, signed by Henry Kissinger as the President’s National Security Advisor, declaring that Rogers had “no need to know” details of the operation.
During his newspaper career, he had frequent multi-week reporting assignments in the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, including five trips to Vietnam during that war. On one of those trips, his helicopter was shot down over the Mekong Delta. On another assignment, a single engine Cessna in which he was flying over the Sinai desert had its engine knocked out by a rifle shot. In both cases skillful pilots were able to land safely.
He has authored eight thrillers: “Mayday Man” (1990), “Submerged Rage: The Hidden Grievance” (2005), “The Acorn Dossier” (2009), “Nuclear Revenge” (2010), “The KGB Hoax” (2013), “Arabella Undercover” (2014), “Double Agent Stallion” (2015) and “Jihadi Revenge” (2016).
At the Pentagon, in addition to duties as spokesman, Beecher served on such substantive policy bodies as the Middle East Task Group, the Defense Energy Policy Council and the SALT Box, dealing with Strategic Arms Limitation Talks policy issues. He also served on a panel of senior officials that recommended plans for an overhaul of the Defense Intelligence Agency. On leaving, he was awarded the Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award the department can bestow on a civilian. He also received a White House medal for his work on the Y2K problem.
In addition, he helped the International Atomic Energy Agency write detailed guidelines for an effective public affairs operation for its 134 member nations and took part in a number of IAEA communication workshops in Europe and Latin America. At a European Nuclear Society conference in Malta, where he spoke in spring 2003, he was singled out with the honor of being made a Knight in the ancient order of St. John of Medina, for lifetime achievements.
During his years as a Washington correspondent, he made numerous appearances on “Washington Week in Review,” “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation” and the PBS “NewsHour.” He has lectured at several schools, including Harvard, Duke and the Fletcher School of Diplomacy.
He’s written up in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in the World.”
He served on the Board of Editors of the Foreign Service Journal and has been a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Gridiron Club and the Harvard Club of Washington, D.C. He is past president of the State Department Correspondents Association, the Overseas Writers Club and the Aviation/Space Writers Association.