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Biden chooses veteran diplomat William Burns as CIA director

A former ambassador to Russia and Jordan, Burns rose through the ranks of the State Department to become deputy secretary before retiring.

President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday he has chosen veteran diplomat William Burns to be his CIA director. 

A former ambassador to Russia and Jordan, Burns, 64, had a 33-year career at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic presidents. He rose through the ranks of the diplomatic corps to become deputy secretary of state before retiring in 2014 to run the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace.

Amid tumult in the State Department after Donald Trump took office in 2017, Burns held his tongue until last year when he began writing highly critical pieces of the Trump administration's policies in Foreign Affairs and other publications. 

"Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure," Biden said. "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." 

Burns was said to have been a candidate to be Biden's secretary of state. Biden chose Anthony Blinken instead. 

Burns has received three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the highest civilian honors from the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He has doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. 

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