William F. Donnelly

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Person.png William F. DonnellyRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
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Alma materOhio State University, University of Michigan
Children • John Donnelly
• Elizabeth Jane Leathem
Spouse • Jean Beaz Donnelly
• Peggy Hall Donnelly
CIA officer becoming Inspector General of the Agency.

Employment.png Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency

In office
January 18, 1988 - December 1, 1989
Preceded byCarroll L. Hauver
Succeeded byWilliam F. Donnelly

Not to be confused with OSS-leader William J. Donovan

William Franklin Donnelly was a CIA officer, starting his career in the Clandestine Service, then over to the Office of Information Technology. He worked in the CIA as proper Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency, later as acting Inspector General.[1]

Donnelly’s family connections in the Agency extend over four generations – a total of about 150 years of employment.[1]


He served in combat in Korea as a Lieutenant, artillery forward observer. At times, he was also a forward observer with Turkish, Colombian, and Ethiopian infantry units.

Donnelly, known in CIA ranks as “Mr. D,” began his career in the Clandestine Service. He served abroad 1959-1965 in Warsaw Poland. He helped negotiate the PL 480, Title 1 (Food for Peace) grain sale to Poland. He continued to travel and be involved in Soviet/East European operations world-wide, but was not posted overseas again. [1]

After a tour as Deputy Chief of the division then responsible for CIA SIGINT operations and liaison with the National Security Agency, he was named Chief of the DO/Information Management Staff. In that role, he oversaw teams which automated the Agency’s stations abroad and upgraded the Directorate of Operations’ records system, as well as the computer center which supported it. In 1983, Donnelly left the Clandestine Service and was named Director of Communications.[1]

In 1985, he was named Director, Office of Information Technology, responsible for CIA computer centers and software.He later became the last non-Senate approved CIA Inspector General and joked “that it took an act of Congress to get him to retire.” In subsequent years he was treasurer of the CIA Legal Defense Fund and until 2007, a member of the board of directors of the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation.[1]

He is reported to have said that "[Bob] Woodward probably found a way to sneak in" to CIA Director William Casey's hospital room.[2][3]

Received a memo regarding allegations that "CIA had knowledge of and assisted Vortex Aviation pilot Michael B. Palmer's drug activities."