Biden chooses veteran diplomat William Burns as CIA chief

Elected President Joe Biden announced Monday that he has elected veteran diplomat William Burns as his CIA chief.

A former ambassador to Russia and Jordan, Burns, 64, had a 33-year career at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic presidents. He rose through the diplomatic corps to become Deputy Secretary of State before retiring in 2014 to run the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace.

In the midst of a riot in the State Department after President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Burns kept his tongue out until last year when he began writing very critical parts of the Trump administration’s foreign policy and other publications. Burns has been a strong advocate for rebuilding and restructuring the foreign service, positions that Biden has adapted to.

“Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage who keeps our people and our country safe,” Biden said in a statement on Monday. “He shares my deep conviction that intelligence must be apolitical and that they are committed to serving the intelligence service. “Our nation deserves our gratitude and respect. Ambassador Burns will provide the knowledge, judgment and perspective we need to prevent and confront threats before they reach our shores. The American people will sleep well with him as our next CIA director.”

Burns is said to have been a candidate for Biden’s foreign secretary. Biden chose Anthony Blinken instead.

If the Senate confirms, Burns would succeed Gina Haspel. As the first female CIA director, Haspel guided the agency under Trump, who has often ignored US spy agencies’ assessments, especially about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election to help his campaign.

The president has placed quotes around the word intelligence in his tweets, suggesting that he does not agree with the term and has fired several professional intelligence personnel in favor of loyalists, including some with little or no experience in the field.

Burns has received three honors for the President’s Distinguished Service and the highest civilian honors from the Pentagon and the United States Intelligence Service. He holds a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar.

Burns, a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia with an advanced degree from Oxford University, joined the Foreign Service in 1982, and before being appointed Ambassador to Russia in 2005, he served as a senior assistant to former Secretary of State William Christopher and Madeleine Albright. .

Burns was a close adviser and trustee of Christopher, Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry before his retirement.

In his book “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal” from 2019, Burns called for a modernization of American diplomacy, while recalling his days in the field, including helping to lead the early days. the stages of the Obama administration’s visit to Iran in 2013.