Biden nominates veteran diplomat William Burns as CIA director

President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday that he had selected former professional diplomat William Burns to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

“The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA director,” Biden said in a statement.

As a former ambassador to Russia and Jordan, Burns is the last major nomination for Biden, who will take office in nine days. Most recently, he was Assistant Secretary of State under President Barack Obama and held other diplomatic posts over a three-decade career in Republican and Democratic administrations.

“Bill Burns is a model diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage who keeps our people and our country safe,” said Biden. “He shares my deep conviction that intelligence agencies must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence workers who serve our nation deserve our gratitude and respect.”

If confirmed in that position, he would be the first professional diplomat to serve as CIA director, according to the Biden team.

Burns, who speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, retired from international service in 2014 after 33 years and was only the second incumbent professional diplomat in history to become deputy state secretary. He also served in various national security positions in five presidential administrations, according to the Biden team.

After retiring from overseas service, Burns became president of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank for international affairs.

He was educated at LaSalle University in Philadelphia and Oxford University in the UK.

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