William Burns, Director, Central Intelligence Agency

William Burns

Director, Central Intelligence Agency

William Joseph Burns was born in April 1956 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in history from LaSalle University and M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in international relations from St. John’s College, Oxford, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. 

He was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate as a Career Ambassador in 2008.  

He served four years as Deputy Secretary of State in President Obama’s administration, some of which was as undersecretary for political affairs. He was ambassador to Russia for three years, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, and later ambassador to Jordan. 

He has also been executive secretary of the State Department and minister-counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He was Special Assistant to the President and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the United States National Security Council. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2014, later becoming president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

He was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was confirmed by the Senate and assumed office in March 2021. 

Burns is married to Lisa Carty and has two daughters. He speaks English, French, Russian, and Arabic. 

In the News…

Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said Chinese President Xi Jinping is a “silent partner” in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, warning that China poses the greatest challenge and “most profound test” that the agency has ever faced. 

“It’s a more complicated and contested world, featuring the rise of an increasingly adversarial China and a pugnacious and revisionist Russia,” Director Burns said, noting that the agency will “have to re-imagine itself to compete successfully in this new age.” 

The CIA director highlighted the immediate threat posed by renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the “longer-term problem posed by China’s ambitious leadership.” He called this the most important geopolitical challenge of the 21st century. 

“A silent partner in Putin’s aggression, Xi Jinping’s China is our greatest challenge, in many ways the most profound test the CIA has ever faced,” Director Burns warned, calling the People’s Republic of China a “formidable competitor lacking in neither ambition nor capability.”  

“It seeks to overtake us in literally every domain, from economic strength to military power, and from space to cyber space,” he said, adding that China is “intent” on replacing the United States as “the preeminent power in the Indo-Pacific.” 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Director Burns today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable William Burns, Director 
Central Intelligence Agency 
1155 21st St NW 
Washington, DC 20581 


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