The Honorable James Woolsey is the Chairman of Paladin's Strategic Advisory Group. He is a partner at Booz Allen Hamilton and from 1993 to 1995 was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He endorsed Senator John McCain for president and served as one of McCain's foreign policy advisors. In his government service, his law practice, and his service on corporate boards, Mr. Woolsey has focused on the practical application of innovative technology and on the legal and managerial requirements that are necessary to accomplish this. During the last two decades, he has served on the boards of fourteen companies; almost all have been significantly involved in using high technology to improve security as well as provide other benefits to private and public sector consumers. He was an early member of the board of directors of Yurie Systems, Inc., a provider of ATM access technology and equipment and access concentrators, which, in 1997, was named by Business Week as the fastest-growing corporation in the U.S. As Under Secretary of the Navy, as a member of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (Packard Commission), the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S. (Rumsfeld Commission, 1998) and as Director of Central Intelligence, Mr. Woolsey has been identified with promoting technological innovation in the interest of improving security.
Mr. Woolsey received his B.A. Degree from Stanford University (With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa), and a M.A. Degree from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and an L.L.B. Degree from Yale Law School, where he was Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Question: Where are you from and how has that shaped you?
Jim Woolsey: I had a very happy childhood. I was an only child. My father was a lawyer, my mother a housewife. My grandmother lived with us, so I had three adults basically in one way or another helping me get through life. Tulsa had an excellent public school system at the time. Opportunities for women in the 1950s were not so substantial outside being a secretary, a nurse, or a teacher. And a lot of very bright and able woman who would be in other jobs today were teachers in the United States during that era. And the grade school, and junior high school, and high school I went to had a marvelous cadre of teachers. High school English teachers well versed in the classics, that sort of thing. And Tulsa was a lovely place to grow up. I still call myself an Okie. My mother told me when I was about 15 . . . I had just read “Grapes of Wrath”, and I said something about really proud to be an Okie. And she said, “Well Jim the Okie’s were the really poor folks who migrated to California.” I said, “I know, but Tom Jones was one. If he’s an Okie I’m an Okie.”
Recorded on: 7/2/07