CIA Director William Burns has outlined major threats facing the United States, pointing to China’s rise on the world stage and Russia’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine as top challenges, while declaring that US intelligence had entered a “new era.”
Speaking at the Georgia Institute of Technology on Thursday for his first-ever public speech as CIA head, Burns argued that “an increasingly adversarial China and a pugnacious and revisionist Russia” have forced the intel agency to “reimagine itself to compete successfully in this new age.”
“Xi Jinping’s China is our greatest challenge, in many ways the most profound test the CIA has ever faced,” Burns continued. “As an intelligence service, we have never had to deal with an adversary with more reach.”
Calling China a “silent partner” in Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, the intelligence chief also warned that the ongoing military operation posed an “immediate threat,” suggesting that “desperation” on the part of President Vladimir Putin could trigger a nuclear exchange.