Kate was born into a long line of Navy service members; along with her mother, she moved around from base to base as her father was posted. Eventually she would join the Navy and later, as a Naval intelligence officer, become a CIA agent. She would go on to marry and divorce multiple times, as of 2006 one of her ex-husbands resided in Florida. (Ninety Miles Away) The other works for the State Department.
In 1995 Harper was sent to Florida to observe talks about the removal of the American trade embargo on Cuba led by Leo McGarry. There she witnessed then-Secretary of Labor Leo's alcoholism in full effect. She prevented him from getting in the driver's seat and decided to drive him to wherever he was going. (Ninety Miles Away)
Politically, Kate Harper seems to be less liberal than most of the White House staff. On the Election Day in 2006, she declared she did not "live and die for the Democratic Party" and strongly implied that she had voted for the Republican candidate Arnold Vinick.
She was present at the dedication of the Bartlet Library. President Bartlet comments that he 'read her book,' and complimented her prose. Given her area of expertise, it is likely the book was foreign policy commentary.
- Graduate of the United States Naval Academy
- Commander - United States Navy
- Served as a Naval Intelligence Officer
- Having earned the rank of Commander, Kate Harper would have served at least 15 years in the Navy.
- Agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. Her record was apparently VERY classified, after C.J. Cregg requested her service file and found nearly 90% of it was blacked out (Ninety Miles Away).
- 2005-2007 : Deputy National Security Advisor
- After 2007: Author
- Given her military service of at least 15 years after her graduation from the Naval Academy and her service in the CIA as early at 1995, Kate Harper would have been at least 46 years old when becoming the Deputy NSA, more than 10 years older than actress Mary McCormack.
- Harper would need at least 15 years of service to become a Navy commander. Given that she joined the CIA as early as 1995, this means she would have graduated from the Naval Academy in 1980, making her part of the first group of women to graduate from Annapolis. Unless the Naval Academy in the West Wing universe integrated women earlier, this is the only possible timeline for Harper's career. Not only was she the top graduate at Annapolis, she was the top ranked student in the first gender-integrated class.
- Although generally more 'hawkish' than the Democratic White House team, in "365 Days" when Leo is asking for priorities, Kate's voice is heard saying "assault weapons ban".
- Has been married and divorced twice.
- Had a relationship with fellow White House staffer Will Bailey during the final year of the Bartlet administration.
- Met White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry when he was Secretary of Labor during a previous administration while she was on an apparent undercover assignment in Florida. He was apparently too intoxicated to remember her clearly.