Speed Reads

confirmed

William Burns confirmed as CIA director

The Senate confirmed William Burns on Thursday as the next CIA director.

The longtime diplomat, who spent three decades in the Foreign Service, was confirmed by unanimous consent. Burns is known for his extensive knowledge of Russia, and will be the first CIA leader whose experience comes from the State Department. During his confirmation hearing in February, Burns said President Biden wants intelligence depoliticized and "the agency to give it to him straight — and I pledged to do just that, and to defend those who do the same."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) briefly placed a hold on Burns' confirmation as a way to pressure the Biden administration into strongly opposing the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Cruz has called for sanctions against anyone who works on the pipeline, and lifted the hold after Secretary of State Antony Blinken made it clear the United States does oppose the project.