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William M. Beecher (born May 27, 1933) is a Pulitzer Prize winning former Washington correspondent for the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.[1] He also served as Washington bureau chief for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He spent two years as a senior official of the Defense Department and ten years as a top official of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He has authored four novels. In retirement, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland.[2][3]

Early life and family

Beecher was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, United States, where he attended public school and was editor of the high school paper. He married Eileen Brick, an elementary school teacher in St. Louis, and they have four daughters and ten grandchildren.[citation needed]


Beecher earned a B.A. from Harvard University, where he was an editor of the Harvard Crimson, and an Master from Columbia University. During his college career has worked as campus correspondent for the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald Traveler.[1]



Beecher started his career as a general assignment reporter for the St. Louis Globe Democrat. During a lengthy newspaper strike in St. Louis, which started while he was reporting in Panama, he decided to move to Washington, DC, where he first worked as the Supreme Court reporter for Fairchild Publications. He moved to the Washington bureau of the Wall Street Journal, where he first covered the Supreme Court and the Justice Department, and later the Department of Defense. He was hired away by the New York Times to cover the Defense Department. He was subsequently hired by the Boston Globe to cover national security and foreign policy from Washington. During his years with the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Boston Globe, he also went on extensive news assignments abroad—in the Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East, including five trips to Vietnam during that war. In 1969, on page one of the New York Times, he broke the story of the secret bombing of Cambodia, one of the closest held secrets of the Nixon Administration during the Vietnam War. It was so closely held that Secretary of State William Rogers was denied detailed information on the operation at the instigation of Henry Kissinger, as National Security Adviser to the President.

In addition to his other work, Beecher wrote a weekly column for the Boston Globe and later for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. During his years as a Washington correspondent, he made many appearances on Washington Week in Review, Meet the Press, Face the Nation and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

Government Service

After graduating from Columbia University, he served a short tour as a second lieutenant in the field artillery, rising to the rank of captain in the Army Reserves before retiring.

Defense Secretary Elliot Richardson persuaded him to leave journalism in 1973 and come into The Pentagon to help restore the government’s credibility, tarnished during the Vietnam War. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Principal Deputy and Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acting) for Public Affairs.

In 1993 he joined the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as Director of the Office of Public Affairs, serving until 2003.


  • In 1983, he was part of a small Boston Globe team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for a 56-page Boston Globe Sunday supplement on war and peace in the Nuclear Age.
  • In 1983, he won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting, awarded by Georgetown University, for a series of interpretive articles from West Germany.
  • On leaving the Defense Department in 1975, he was honored with the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest award the Pentagon can confer on a civilian.
  • In 2000, while working for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, he was awarded a White House medal for his work on the Y2K problem.


He served on the board of editors of the Foreign Service Journal, and was a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Gridiron Club of Washington, DC. He was past president of the State Department Correspondents Association, the Overseas Writers Club and the Aviation/Space Writers Association. He is written up in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in the World.”[citation needed]


Beecher authored the following novels: Mayday Man (1990), Submerged Rage: The Hidden Grievance (2005), The Acorn Dossier (2009), and Nuclear Revenge (2010).[4]


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