I would like to leave behind now the moronic action of 06 January and return to the scrutiny of Biden’s Cabinet picks.
He has made his choice to lead the spy agency, the CIA…..
President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday he has chosen veteran diplomat William Burns to be his CIA director. A former ambassador to Russia and Jordan, Burns, 64, had a 33-year career at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic presidents. He rose through the ranks of the diplomatic corps to become deputy secretary of state before retiring in 2014 to run the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. Amid tumult in the State Department after President Trump took office in 2017, Burns held his tongue until last year when he began writing highly critical pieces of the Trump administration’s policies in Foreign Affairs and other publications, reports the AP. Burns has been a staunch advocate of rebuilding and restructuring the foreign service, positions Biden has aligned himself with.
In an opinion piece on the pick for the Washington Post, David Ignatius frames the choice: “What’s likely to have appealed to Biden … is [Burns’] reputation as a nonpartisan figure who served in hard places—Russia and the Middle East—and over the years developed close relationships with the countries that are the CIA’s key liaison partners. His biggest challenge will be dealing with a quirky, cliquey CIA culture that is often resistant to change. CIA operatives have been masterful over the years at bending new directors to their priorities.” And from Biden himself: “Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure. The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA director.”
There you have the fluff piece on the new nominee….a person I am not convinced is the best choice to run the agency…..because he will eventually be consumed by the culture.
In nominating former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to be CIA director, President-elect Joe Biden has chosen a highly experienced diplomat to lead a hydra-headed agency.
But, if past is precedent, the highest hydras who head calcified fiefdoms at CIA can be expected to resist any real control from the top. They are more likely to try to co-opt top management or make end runs around it. This is not new.
Most senior CIA operations officers, in particular, have never been comfortable with meaningful supervision, lest it lead to reining them in or impinging on their ample budgets. With secrecy always in play (including strict application of the “need-to-know” principle), Burns will need a good deputy – preferably a strong outsider – to avoid being blind-sided – or diddled.
Burns lacks proven experience managing organizations as large and variegated as the agency, so the jury is out on whether he will be able to do it.
All in all….it will be “same as it ever was”…..
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