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Biden taps longtime diplomat William Burns for CIA director

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Washington — President-elect Joe Biden has selected Ambassador William Burns, a career diplomat, as his nominee for director of the CIA, his transition team announced Monday.

Burns is a 33-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service and currently serves as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He holds the rank of career ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service. 

Burns has worked across five Republican and Democratic presidential administrations, most recently  serving as deputy secretary of state during the Obama administration, as well as under secretary for political affairs at the State Department. 

Across his decades in the foreign service, which he retired from in 2014, he was also the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008 and the U.S. ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. Burns has been awarded three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards, as well as the top civilian honors from both the Defense Department and the U.S. intelligence community.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns testifies on the situation in Ukraine to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on March 6, 2014. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

"Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure," Mr. 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. Ambassador Burns will bring the knowledge, judgment, and perspective we need to prevent and confront threats before they can reach our shores."

As he prepares to take the presidency in nine days, Mr. Biden has announced nominees to the top positions in his administration and Cabinet. While the CIA director is a Cabinet position under President Trump, it will not be a Cabinet-level post for the president-elect, a transition official told CBS News. The director of national intelligence will serve as a member of Mr. Biden's Cabinet.

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