Jay Rockefeller, the former chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, will join the Council on Foreign Relations this month as a distinguished fellow. His research will cover Japan, East Asia, cybersecurity issues, and other topics. He will be based in CFR’s Washington, DC, office.
“For more than three decades, first as a governor and then a U.S. senator, Jay Rockefeller has shown an uncommon ability to get important things done,” said CFR President Richard Haass. “We are thrilled to have someone of his experience, achievement, and range join us at the Council on Foreign Relations.”
Rockefeller has a lengthy history of public service. He was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966. Since then he has served as West Virginia Secretary of State, president of West Virginia Wesleyan College, and governor of West Virginia. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and was reelected four times after that, serving a total of thirty years.
Rockefeller also has extensive foreign policy experience. He was vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 2003 to 2007 and chairman from 2007 to 2009. He helped lead the committee’s review of pre-Iraq War intelligence, shepherded the Foreign Intelligence Service Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 until it was signed into law in July 2008, and directed his staff to investigate the CIA’s destruction of interrogation tapes that provided the impetus for the larger investigation into the agency’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.
As chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Rockefeller was active on cybersecurity policy, convening several hearings on the subject. In December the Rockefeller-Thune Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 was signed into law. He also served as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and earlier in his career he worked for the Department of State and the Peace Corps.
Rockefeller has long been interested in Japan and East Asia. He studied at Tokyo’s International Christian University from 1957 to 1960. While he was in the Peace Corps he spearheaded its initial program in the Philippines. As governor of West Virginia, he attracted more than twenty Japanese companies to the state. Earlier this year Japan awarded him the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun for his contributions to strengthening and promoting both the economic relationship and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. He is a member of the Asia Society, the Japan Society, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission.
Rockefeller became a member of CFR in 1978. He graduated from Harvard University in 1961 with a BA in Far Eastern languages and history.