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Friday, January 22, 2021

Biden taps career diplomat Burns to lead CIA

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Biden taps career diplomat Burns to lead CIA
Biden taps career diplomat Burns to lead CIA

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will tap a former career diplomat in William Burns to lead the CIA, his transition team said on Monday, as the Democrat races to put a national security team in place before his inauguration.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will tap William Burns, a former career diplomat, to lead the CIA, his transition team said on Monday.

Over a 33-year career as a U.S. diplomat and eventually deputy secretary of state, Burns, who speaks Russian, Arabic and French, served in the Middle East and Russia.

As ambassador from 2005 to 2008 to the United States' old Cold War adversary, he led secret talks that paved the way to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, under former Democratic President Barack Obama.

That background will be critical at the spy agency in a new Biden administration which has vowed to punish Russia if it is found responsible for a massive cyber breach affecting U.S. government agencies.

The Kremlin has denied involvement.

Burns, who is currently president of an international affairs think tank, will also help the Biden administration decide where it can cooperate with China and where to confront the rising Asian power.

Biden, who promised to pick a team of tested officials ready on day one, is unlikely to have a full complement of permanent national security officials when he takes office as his transition was delayed by Trump contesting the election.

Burns must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, where Biden's fellow Democrats narrowly hold the majority.

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