- “The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA Director,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
- The incoming US president described Mr. Burns, who speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, as “an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage.”
- Until now, Mr. Burns was the head of the Carnegie Fund for International Peace, a prestigious think tank dedicated to international affairs based in Washington.
On Monday, Joe Biden proposed diplomat William Burns as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Burns has held, among other positions, that of Ambassador to Russia. He has worked in the service of five administrations, both Democrats and Republicans and he commands high respect from his former work stations.
Once confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Burns, 64, will be the first leader in the history of the intelligence, espionage, and counterespionage agency to come from the State Department.
“The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA Director,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
The incoming US president described Mr. Burns, who speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, as “an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage,” and who he relies on to “prevent and confront” future threats, such as cyberattacks from Russia, the challenge posed by China or the activity of terrorist organizations.
According to sources cited by CNN, Mr. Biden favored Mr. Burns because of vast diplomatic experience in Moscow, the Middle East peace accords, and his apparent ability to restore the credibility of the CIA following the tenure of outgoing President, Donald Trump. During his four years, President Trump has been attacking those responsible for intelligence agencies.
Until now, Mr. Burns was the head of the Carnegie Fund for International Peace, a prestigious think tank dedicated to international affairs based in Washington. He previously served as undersecretary of state in the Barack Obama administration, was the ambassador of Russia during Republican President George W. Bush’s tenure, and of Jordan during Democrat Bill Clinton’s time as president.
In 2014, after a 33-year career, he retired from foreign service. One of his last jobs was as negotiator in the secret talks to achieve the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement under President Obama, a pact from which the Trump administration withdrew, and which Mr. Biden intends to revive.
“Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure,” Mr. Biden said in announcing the nomination. “He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect.”
Mr. Biden has worked with Mr. Burns not only during the Obama era, but also while the Democrat led the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
During the first years of President Trump’s mandate, Mr. Burns remained on the sidelines of commenting on his controversial foreign policy decisions, but already last year, he broke the silence, and published several columns criticizing the president’s management.
Currently, the Intelligence agency is headed by Gina Haspel, who in May 2018, became the first woman to hold the position.
Mr. Burns is the last high-ranking member to join the Biden Administration as of January 20, when the Democrat takes office and is officially the President of the United States.
US Cabinet appointments must, however, be confirmed by the Senate. As the Democrats took the leadership of the upper chamber from the Republicans last week, there will be no obstacles for the future president’s team to move forward.