President Biden on Friday elevated William J. Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to become a member of his cabinet, citing the agency’s work in providing “good intelligence, delivered with honesty and integrity” about China, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and emerging technologies.

“Bill has always provided me with a clear, straightforward analysis that prioritizes the safety and security of the American people, reflecting the integral role the CIA plays in our national security decision-making at this critical time,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.

Mr. Burns, a veteran diplomat with a career spanning more than three decades, was a key player in the administration’s efforts to prevent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He traveled to Moscow before the invasion and was in Kiev several times as the war began to consult with the country’s leaders.

The position of CIA director was cabinet-level until 2005, when the position of director of national intelligence was created after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Beginning that year, the director of national intelligence, not from the CIA, served in the cabinet.

Former President Donald J. Trump changed that in 2017, placing both intelligence directors in his cabinet. But Mr. Biden changed it again when he took office in 2021. With his decision on Friday, both positions are back in the cabinet.

The new status – which is largely symbolic and is not expected to add any new responsibilities for Mr Burns – is a credibility boost for the agency after coming under intense criticism for intelligence failures before the terror attacks two decades ago.

In his statement, Mr. Biden praised the agency’s work and said that Mr. Burns, along with Avril D. Haines, the current director of national intelligence, provided information that gave the country a “critical strategic advantage” in its foreign policy.

“Under his leadership, the CIA is delivering a clear-sighted, long-term approach to our nation’s top national security challenges,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Burns started in the Foreign Service in the early 1980s and has been a player in American foreign policy ever since, serving presidents in both parties.

Former President George W. Bush made him ambassador to Russia in 2005 and he served in key positions at the State Department for former President Barack Obama.

In 2013, Mr. Burns was a key Obama administration official leading secret negotiations with Iran to reach an agreement that would limit Iran’s nuclear program. He later retired from government to become the president of the Carnegie Institute for International Peace.

In addition to playing a key role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Mr. Burns also traveled to Afghanistan to meet with Taliban leaders as the administration made good on Mr. Biden’s pledge to withdraw troops from the country and end America’s longest war.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *