Joe Biden has chosen former career diplomat William Burns to take the helm of the U.S. intelligence agency CIA, the president-elect’s team said in a statement on Monday.
“Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage in keeping our people and our country safe,” Joe Biden said in the statement.
“He shares my deep conviction that intelligence must be apolitical,” adds the president-elect, who is due to take office on January 20.
A diplomat for 33 years, notably as United States ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, William Burns retired from the diplomatic corps in 2014 before heading the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, an international relations think tank.
He succeeds Gina Haspel, director of the CIA since 2018, who herself had succeeded Mike Pompeo, director from 2017 to 2018, before being appointed Secretary of State by Donald Trump.
If his appointment is confirmed by the Senate, William Burns would become the first career diplomat to lead the CIA, the statement said.