facebook linkedin twitter

Biden Chooses Veteran Diplomat Burns as CIA Director

January 11, 2021by Matthew Lee, AP Diplomatic Writer
In this July 10, 2014 photo, then U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, is shown in New Delhi, India.(AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday he has chosen veteran diplomat William Burns to be his CIA director.

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 ranks of the diplomatic corps to become deputy secretary of state before retiring in 2014 to run the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace.

Amid tumult in the State Department after President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Burns held his tongue until last year when he began writing highly critical pieces of the Trump administration’s policies in Foreign Affairs and other publications. Burns has been a staunch advocate of rebuilding and restructuring the foreign service, positions Biden has aligned himself with.

“Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure,” Biden said in a statement Monday. “He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect. Ambassador Burns will bring the knowledge, judgment, and perspective we need to prevent and confront threats before they can reach our shores. The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA director.”

Burns was said to have been a candidate to be Biden’s secretary of state. Biden chose Anthony Blinken instead.

If confirmed by the Senate, Burns would succeed Gina Haspel. As the first female CIA director, Haspel guided the agency under Trump, who has frequently disparaged the assessments of U.S. spy agencies, especially about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to help his campaign.

The president has placed quote marks around the word intelligence in his tweets, implying that he doesn’t agree with the term, and has fired several career intelligence professionals in favor of loyalists, including some with little to no experience in the field.

Burns has received three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the highest civilian honors from the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He has doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar.

Burns, a graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia with advanced degrees from Oxford University, joined the foreign service in 1982 and before being named ambassador to Russia in 2005, served as a top aide to former Secretaries of State William Christopher and Madeleine Albright as well as director of the State Department’s policy planning office.

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

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

Intelligence

CIA creates Working Group on China as Threats Keep Rising

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA said Thursday it will create a top-level working group on China as part of a... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA said Thursday it will create a top-level working group on China as part of a broad U.S. government effort focused on countering Beijing's influence.  The group will become one of fewer than a dozen mission centers operated by the CIA, with... Read More

One to Charge Them All: EU Demands Single Plug for Phones

LONDON (AP) — The European Union unveiled plans Thursday to require smartphone makers to adopt a single charging method for... Read More

LONDON (AP) — The European Union unveiled plans Thursday to require smartphone makers to adopt a single charging method for mobile devices. The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, proposed legislation that would mandate USB-C cables for charging, technology that many device makers have already adopted.... Read More

August 18, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Inspector General Report Describes Intelligence Failings in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Defense Department officials on Wednesday afternoon acknowledged the kind of surprise about the fall of Afghanistan mentioned... Read More

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Defense Department officials on Wednesday afternoon acknowledged the kind of surprise about the fall of Afghanistan mentioned in a new inspector general’s report. “No, I did not see a collapse of an army of that size in 11 days,” Army Gen. Mark Milley... Read More

Biden Orders More Intel Investigation of COVID-19 Origin

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence officials to "redouble" their efforts to investigate the origins of the... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence officials to "redouble" their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory.  After months of minimizing that possibility as a fringe theory, the Biden administration... Read More

April 13, 2021
by TWN Staff
Murphy Sets Sights On China’s Influence Campaign in Latin America, Caribbean

WASHINGTON - Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., is pressing for a comprehensive assessment of China’s efforts to expand its presence and... Read More

WASHINGTON - Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., is pressing for a comprehensive assessment of China’s efforts to expand its presence and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean and how these efforts could undermine American interests. Under the auspices of a new bill Murphy has authored, the... Read More

Biden Chooses Veteran Diplomat Burns as CIA Director

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday he has chosen veteran diplomat William Burns to be his CIA director.... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday he has chosen veteran diplomat William Burns to be his CIA director. 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... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top