Who is William J. Burns, who will be the first career diplomat to serve as CIA director?
Burns was born on April 4, 1956, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1978 he received a degree in history from La Salle University and in 1981 he obtained a master’s and doctorate in international relations from the University of Oxford. Besides English, he also speaks Russian, Arabic and French.
The official, who was critical of Donald Trump’s foreign policy, served in the US Foreign Service for 33 years before retiring in 2014 and holds the highest rank in the service, career ambassador. He also held various national security positions in five Democratic and Republican presidential administrations.
In particular, Burns served as US Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001 and as Under Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs from 2001 to 2005. Subsequently, he served as Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, before serving as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011. Between 2011 and 2014 he was the Undersecretary of State.
Since 2015 Burns has been the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest think tank on international affairs in the US.
The former diplomat received three presidential awards for distinguished service and highest civilian honors from the Pentagon and the U.S. Intelligence community.After retiring from the Foreign Service, Burns wrote the book ‘The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal ‘(‘ Return Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal ‘), which describes various events with which he was directly related as a diplomat, such as the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the expansion of NATO.
Former ambassador to Russia to head CIA in Biden administration
It should be noted that previously Burns was considered one of the candidates for the post of Secretary of State, which was eventually proposed to Anthony Blinken.
William Burns was the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008. He then briefly served as Acting Secretary of State after Condoleezza Rice’s resignation and before Hillary Clinton took office.
In 2014, Burns retired from the Foreign Service after a 33-year career. Most recently, he headed a private think tank at the Carnegie Endowment, which deals with international economic cooperation.