Joe Biden's transition team revealed the Democratic president-elect has nominated State Department veteran William Burns as the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The transition team stressed that the diplomat's extensive 33 years' of experience will help him address a number of threats as CIA chief.
"Ambassador Burns is a consummate professional full of integrity who will bring the facts and independence that our national security demands", the official statement said.
The statement suggested that Burns will be able to deal equally well with purported cyber attacks "emanating from Moscow", or the alleged "challenge" posed by China, or other types of threats posed by terrorists and non-state actors.
NEW: Biden announces William Burns is his nominee as CIA director.— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) January 11, 2021
Burns is a career diplomat and was deputy Secretary of State under Obama. He’s a Russian and Arabic speaker but doesn’t have an intelligence background. pic.twitter.com/pNASFft7QA
President-elect Joe Biden praised William Burns as a person, who would be able to lead the intelligence agency while unaffected by political arguments. The Democrat expressed confidence that with Burns as the head of the CIA "the American people will sleep soundly".
"He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect", Biden said in the statement.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in turn, stressed Burns experience of working at the State Department regardless of whether a Democratic or a Republican administration was in office. She expressed confidence that the veteran diplomat will lead the CIA with "independence and integrity".
Burns has served at the Department of State since 1982. He got his first major post in 1996 becoming the Executive Secretary of the Department of State. He was ambassador to two countries – Lebanon and Russia and also served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs at the end of the George W Bush administration and the first term of Barack Obama.