Washington | Joe Biden announced on Monday that he had chosen William Burns, the former number two in American diplomacy, one of the architects of the dialogue with Iran, to revive the future Democratic president and take over as CIA chief. The largest intelligence agency in the United States.
With Avril Hines, who has been appointed National Intelligence Coordinator, the 64-year-old former career diplomat who has served in both the Democratic and Republican presidencies will have a huge task to turn the page on the administration of Donald Trump.
The outgoing president constantly despised his intelligence agencies, for example, by denying or minimizing Russian interference in the 2016 election brought to the White House. And he accused these institutions of politicizing by appointing loyalists over their heads.
If his appointment is confirmed by the Senate, William Burns will become the first career diplomat to head the CIA, a powerful American counter-intelligence agency with 21,000 employees. He was not a politician, a soldier or a man of intelligence Seraglio, just like his ancestors.
“Bill Burns is an ideal diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage in keeping our people and our country safe,” Biden said in a statement.
“He shares my deep belief that intelligence should be undemocratic,” said the president-elect, who will take office on January 20.
Democrats and scholars of U.S. foreign policy welcomed the choice. Elected Republican officials, such as influential Senator Lindsay Graham, praised him for announcing on Twitter that he would support the “great” appointment of this “experienced diplomat” who is a respected figure in the intelligence community. “.
When the Republican president appoints him foreign secretary, he will replace CII director Gina Haspel from 2018, replacing Mike Pompeo, the most loyal to the Trumpists.
William Burns, a diplomat for 33 years, especially as ambassador to the United States in Russia from 2005 to 2008, retired from the diplomatic corps in 2014 before presiding over the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, a think tank on international relations.
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“The world has changed”
Anthony Blinken, the second deputy secretary to former diplomat Barack Obama to join Joe Biden’s national security team, has been appointed head of the U.S. embassy. William Burns’ name also spread to become Secretary of State.
Although it has no diplomatic relations with the United States, it reached an agreement with Iran during the Barack Obama administration in 2011 and 2012 in secret talks with the enemy in Oman. These negotiations then made it possible to open official ones between Tehran and the great powers (United States, China, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom), which resulted in the 2015 agreement to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Donald Trump closed the door on the deal in 2018, which he felt was inadequate and has since re-established and tightened all US sanctions on Iran.
Joe Biden pledged to join the deal and lift sanctions on condition that Tehran return to sanctions on its nuclear program, from which he began to withdraw in retaliation for the “maximum pressure” imposed by Washington. .
“The Trump administration’s maximum pressure strategy is insane,” Bill Burns said at a conference in October, praising the “reasonable” attitude of then-candidate Joe Biden ahead of the U.S. presidential election. But he warned that returning to the deal due to “damage in recent years” was “much easier than it did”.
More broadly, the diplomat warned against “magic wand”, “with the wave of magic wand, we saw them in 2016 to restore American relations and influence. […], Because the world has changed ”.