Richard Woolsey is a brilliant legal mind. He holds an MBA and an LLB from Harvard, he was lead counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers for ten years, and he later sat on the Defense Policy Board. He was asked to resign when it was disclosed that he had financial ties to a large corporation that had been awarded over $800 million in private sector defense contracts by the Pentagon, and he had been with the NID for about a year when he was tapped by Senator Kinsey for a special assignment.
As the Chairman of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, Kinsey authorized Woolsey to conduct a full investigation into Hammond's command decision regarding the rescue of SG-13 from P3X-666, as part of a larger examination of SGC strategic policy that was being prepared for the President. A firm believer in the truth and in the need for civilian oversight of classified military operations, Woolsey feels that it is reprehensible that taxpayers pay millions of dollars to wage a war they know nothing about, and he conducted interrogations of the members of SG-1 with an eye toward the economics of command decisions.
Woolsey presented his findings to President Hayes, Vice President Kinsey, and General Maynard, charging the SGC with disregard for military authority, compromising national security, and exercising extremely poor judgment in the performance of their duties. However, Woolsey considers himself to be a man of integrity, and even as he made his case, his suspicions about Kinsey's motivations grew, and he began to question whether those to whom he had dedicated his allegiance were as honorable as he had hoped. Woolsey turned to General Hammond, whom he believed held proof connecting Kinsey to illegal activity, and Hammond provided him with a copy of the disk of incriminating evidence that O'Neill and Maybourne had accumulated when Hammond had been forced to resign three years earlier due to pressure from rogue elements in the NID. Woolsey turned the computer disk over to President Hayes, hoping that history would show that he had tried to do the right thing.
Following the signing of the Gate Alliance Treaty and the formation of the International Oversight Advisory, a civilian-run organization made of representatives from the various nations involved in the Stargate Program, Richard Woolsey became the IOA liaison to the SGC. Based in Washington, Woolsey has made frequent visits to the SGC as a watchdog for the IOA, and with the ability to control funding and to approve or deny missions, Woolsey and the IOA exert a significant influence over the command decisions of the SGC.
When SG-1 brought Khalek to Earth and then prepared to return him to stasis because of the danger the hybrid son of Anubis represented, Woolsey felt very strongly that studying Khalek's evolutionary development could be the key to finding a way to fight the Priors and to discovering the missing link to ascension. He insisted that keeping Khalek on Earth for study was worth the risk, and when Landry challenged his decision, he even threatened to reevaluate the leadership and operation of the SGC, nearly prompting Landry to sever ties with the IOA despite the loss of funding that would result. Woosley's decision proved disastrous, however, when Khalek attempted to escape from the facility, killing several SGC personnel and nearly killing Woolsey before being killed himself. Woolsey later offered his apology and admitted his regret for not recognizing the risks.
In an effort to improve public relations and to reassure the IOA of the job being done at the SGC, the Pentagon made arrangements for members of the IOA to make their first off-world visit through the stargate, and representatives Chapman of the UK, La Pierre of France, and Shen Xiaoyi of China accompanied Woolsey on a tour of the Gamma Site. When an alien specimen at the base, a carnivorous insect known as R75, breached containment during the tour, Woolsey demanded that SG-1 be personally responsible for their safety, yet he repeatedly questioned command decisions and pointed out that saving the lives of the delegation would go a long way toward minimizing the ramifications to the SGC when the IOA reports were filed. The delegation barely escaped with their lives, but afterward the fallout from the incident was surprisingly minimal, and Woolsey admitted that although the IOA seems to do an inordinate amount of complaining, off the record they have nothing but praise for the job being done at Stargate Command.
Woolsey has continued to maintain contact and to make frequent visits to the SGC as the International Oversight Advisory liaison. As the Ori began their invasion of the galaxy through the supergate, Woolsey and the IOA considered bringing the Atlantis ZPM to Earth to power the Antarctic defense system, an impractical solution that was not pursued. He returned to the SGC during the psychological evaluation of Vala to determine her suitability as a member of the SGC, and as a test of her character he proposed that she act as a spy for the IOA. Vala passed his test, however, and refused his proposal, then evened the score by implying that he had made inappropriate sexual advances toward her. Woolsey's previous experience with Khalek no doubt influenced his judgment when Daniel was transformed into a Prior and he approached the SGC with a plan to defeat the Ori. Woolsey and the IOA recommended against following Daniel's plan and submitted their proposal to the President that Daniel's life be terminated immediately. Later, the decision was made instead to place Daniel in stasis in Antarctica until SG-1's mission to complete Merlin's weapon was deemed successful. However, when Woolsey confronted Daniel to tell him of the plan, Daniel overpowered Woolsey and returned him to the SGC before taking control of the Odyssey and joining SG-1's successful mission.
Woolsey's shortsighted command decisions have been a source of friction between the SGC and the IOA, however he has come to respect and admire the people at Stargate Command and the work they are doing, even when they don't see eye to eye.
Portrayed by: Robert Picardo