President-elect Joe Biden chooses William Burns, a popular personality in diplomatic circles around the globe to lead the CIA. Burns who was the former ambassador to Russia and Jordan had a 33-year career at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic presidents. He adorned different ranks of the diplomatic corps to ultimately becoming deputy secretary of state prior to his retirement in 2014.
Between the uproar in the State Department, after President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Burns began writing highly controversial pieces of the Trump administration’s policies in Foreign Affairs and other publications. Burns has been a strong advocate of rebuilding and restructuring foreign aid. Burns was rumored to have been a candidate to be Biden’s secretary of state. Biden appointed Anthony Blinken instead.
Burns, an alumnus of La Salle University in Philadelphia with advanced degrees from Oxford University, entered the foreign service in 1982 and before being selected as the ambassador to Russia in 2005, worked as a top aide to former Secretaries of State William Christopher and Madeleine Albright as well as director of the State Department’s policy planning office.
In the statement made on Monday, Biden commented that Burns shares his profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving the nation deserve their gratitude and respect.
Burns has earned three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the most distinguished civilian honors from the Pentagon and the US intelligence community. He has doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar.