President-elect Joe Biden will nominate William Burns as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Monday, his transition team announced.
If confirmed, Burns will be the first ever CIA Director with lifelong experience stemming from the State Department.
“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 in a statement. “He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect.”
Burns is currently president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously served as deputy secretary of State in the Obama administration and has three decades in positions across the foreign service.
He holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, career ambassador, and is the second serving career diplomat in history to become Deputy Secretary of State.
He has served under five American presidents, both Democrat and Republican, including being the ambassador to Jordan in the Clinton administration and to Russia under George W. Bush. He was also executive secretary of the State Department and special assistant to former Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright.
“The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA Director,” Biden said.
All of Biden’s nominees will face an easier road to confirmation with a Democrat controlled Senate but Republicans will likely find issue with his role in the Benghazi investigation.
Burns has received three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards along with the highest civilian honors from the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community.
“A national security expert with decades of experience serving under Democratic and Republican presidents, Ambassador Bill Burns has a deep understanding of the global threats and challenges facing our country,” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said in a statement.
Burns is highly respected among both Democrats and Republicans and is expected to receive an easier confirmation. The position for CIA Director is not expected to be a part of Biden’s Cabinet, which is a change from the Trump administration but is also a return to how former President Barack Obama ran things.