Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced Ambassador William J. Burns as his nominee for Director of the CIA. Ambassador Burns is a career diplomat who served in the U.S. Foreign Service for 33 years and holds the highest rank in the service. He also served in a number of national security positions across five Democratic and Republican presidential administrations. Ambassador Burns is a consummate professional full of integrity who will bring the facts and independence that our national security demands. Whether it’s cyber attacks emanating from Moscow, the challenge China poses, or the threat we face from terrorists and other non-state actors, he has the experience and skill to marshal efforts across government and around the world to ensure the CIA is positioned to protect the American people.
President-elect Joe Biden said, “Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure. 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.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “Keeping our nation safe and secure requires intelligence that is apolitical and puts the American people first. A national security expert with decades of experience serving under Democratic and Republican presidents, Ambassador Bill Burns has a deep understanding of the global threats and challenges facing our country. He will lead the CIA with independence and integrity, always honoring our nation’s intelligence professionals. And President-elect Joe Biden and I will work closely with Ambassador Burns — and our entire national security team — to prevent and prevail over any threat against the United States of America.”
Ambassador William J. Burns is the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 after a 33-year diplomatic career. He holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, career ambassador, and is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become Deputy Secretary of State.
Ambassador Burns is a crisis-tested public servant who has spent his career working to keep Americans safe and secure. Prior to his tenure as Deputy Secretary of State, he served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011, U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 to 2005, and U.S. Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. He was also executive secretary of the State Department and special assistant to former Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright; minister-counselor for political affairs at the U.S. embassy in Moscow; acting director and principal deputy director of the State Department’s policy planning staff; and special assistant to the president and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.
Ambassador Burns has received three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the highest civilian honors from the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from LaSalle University and master’s and doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar.