Biden Nominates Longtime U.S. Diplomat William Burns to Lead CIA

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U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Lebanon, July 1, 2013
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Lebanon, July 1, 2013Credit: Bilal Hussein,AP
Reuters

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will nominate former career diplomat and former deputy secretary of state William Burns to lead the CIA, his transition team said on Monday.

Burns served 33 years as a U.S. diplomat, including as U.S. ambassador to Russia and as lead negotiator in the secret talks that paved the way to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, under former Democratic President Barack Obama.

He is currently president of the international affairs think tank the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"Ambassador Burns is a crisis-tested public servant who has spent his career working to keep Americans safe and secure," Biden's transition team said in a statement.

Biden's pick to lead the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency comes as he races to get a national security team into place after the transition was delayed by Republican President Donald Trump contesting the Democrat’s November election victory.

Burns must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, in which Biden's fellow Democrats narrowly hold the majority. Biden has asked Congress to confirm his national security team as close to his Jan. 20 inauguration as possible, but still faces the prospect of having few permanent appointees in place when he takes office.

Biden, who served as vice president under Obama, has said he would restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned. )

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