Wednesday 3 March 2021 - 10:16

US Senate Intelligence Approves William Burns to Be CIA Director

Story Code : 919425
US Senate Intelligence Approves William Burns to Be CIA Director
The panel voted in a closed-door session to approve Burns, a veteran diplomat who most recently served as the deputy secretary of State in the Obama administration, to helm the clandestine agency by voice vote.

His confirmation would fill one of the last senior national security posts still vacant more than a month after President Joe Biden was sworn into office.

Prior to the vote, Intelligence Chair Mark Warner [D-Va.] told POLITICO that the panel would run a “hotline” — an expedited process to check for last-minute opposition to bringing a nominee or legislation to the floor for an immediate vote — on Burns' nomination.

CIA Deputy Director David Cohen is serving as acting director while Burns awaits confirmation.

At a cordial confirmation hearing last week, Burns, who previously helped steer nuclear negotiations with Iran and served as the US ambassador to Russia, pledged that he would sharpen the CIA’s focus on China, describing “an adversarial, predatory Chinese leadership” as the United States' “biggest geopolitical test.”

“For CIA, that will mean intensified focus and urgency — continually strengthening its already impressive cadre of China specialists, expanding its language skills, aligning personnel and resource allocation for the long haul,” he told the Intelligence committee.