Biden taps career diplomat William Burns to lead CIA


Joe Biden has chosen career diplomat William Burns to be his CIA director, he announced on Monday.

Burns, 64, has had a 33-year career at the State Department, serving under both Republican and Democrat presidents. The former ambassador to Russia and Jordan became deputy secretary of state before retiring in 2014 to run the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace.

“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. “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 is currently serving as the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to that, he spent more than three decades with the U.S. Foreign Service, which he retired from in 2014, but not before reaching the highest rank, career ambassador.

He has served in a handful of national security positions across both Democratic and Republican administrations. Burns was the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2005 to and 2008 and was U.S. ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. He was also deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration.

In August, Burns wrote a piece published in the Atlantic in which he warned about the possibility of President Trump not accepting the results of the upcoming election.

“If he loses, I doubt that he will suddenly embrace the traditional bipartisan commitment to effective transitions. At best, he'll be consumed by efforts to rationalize his defeat and paint the election as rigged; at worst, he'll seek to contest or undermine the result,” Burns wrote. “Like so many other features of the Trump era, the transition would bear little resemblance to any before, or any of the many I served through as a career diplomat. The costs of confusion, mixed signals, and bureaucratic turmoil could be very high.”

Burns and Avril Haines, Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence, have a long-standing relationship, according to CNN.

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