CIA Chief Names China, Russia as Biggest Threat US is Facing

Declaring that the US intelligence has entered a new era, CIA Director William Burns pointed on Thursday to China’s rise on the world stage and the ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine as top challenges and threat the United States is facing.

In his first public speech ever as CIA head – at the Georgia Institute of Technology -, Burns called Beijing, or Xi Jinping’s China in his exact words, the greatest challenge and underscored the nuclear threat posed by Russia

Burns argued that the intel agency was forced by the pugnacious and revisionist Russia and the increasingly adversarial China to reimagine itself in order to compete successfully in this new age.

He noted that as an adversary with more reach, China is, in many ways, the most profound test the CIA has ever faced and had to deal with, seeking to overtake the UN in literally every domain from space to cyberspace.

Suggesting that President Putin’s desperation could trigger a nuclear exchange with the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons, Burns called the ongoing Russian military operation in Ukraine an immediate threat and stressed that it should be taken lightly, accusing at the same time Beijing of being a silent partner in Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine.

However, he also noted that despite the bragging part by placing its nuclear forces on higher alert status in late February, after attacking Ukraine, Moscow hasn’t given the US intelligence agencies lot of practical evidence that would reinforce that concern in terms of deployments or military dispositions.

The White House has also ‘upgraded’ and intensified its rhetoric against Russia lately with President Biden even appearing to demand regime change in a speech last month, but later it went as far to accuse Putin of war crimes and, most recently, genocide.

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