William Burns: Another Member Of Xi’s Dream Team?


William Burns is the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In this role, he will head an organization facing off across the globe with an increasingly active and aggressive Chinese spy apparatus. Unfortunately, Burns, like so many other Biden appointees, is also quite possibly compromised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Burns comes to the CIA from his position as head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The name is intended to give the impression that the institute functions as some sort of dispassionate advocate for world peace. In fact, it appears to be part of what is known as the United Front, a worldwide Chinese effort to co-opt foreign elites and influence them to adopt pro-CCP policies.

The Carnegie Endowment funds the Beijing-based Carnegie-Tsinghua Center, which partners with one of China’s top technological universities, Tsinghua University. Tsinghua University is part of China’s Thousand Talents Program, via which the CCP recruits American scientists and steals American technology. Tsinghua University is funded by the Chinese military and has launched cyber-attacks on the US Government.

As President of the Carnegie Endowment Burns oversaw the think tank’s involvement with the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). CUSEF is funded by the Chinese Overseas United Front Work Department (UFWD). This is the agency responsible for coordinating United Front influence operations.

As head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Burns has invited close to a dozen congressional staffers on trips to China to meet with communist party operatives and leaders of Chinese front groups. Burns also welcomed Chinese businessman Zhang Yichen, CEO of CITIC Consulting, to join the think tank’s board of trustees. Zhang is linked to two organizations with Chinese Communist Party ties, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the Center for China and Globalization. The CPPCC is the party group that directs the United Front Work Department and includes a member of the Politburo Standing Committee – the collective dictatorship that rules China.

Zhang’s firm gave Carnegie a donation of between $500,000 and $999,000 between 2017 and 2018. In the 2020 fiscal year, the firm made donations to the think tank between $250,000 and $549,999. Carnegie also received donations between $100,000 and $249,999 from China-United States Exchange Foundation, an organization the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Jamestown Foundation described as “a major player in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s organizational apparatus for conducting United Front work in the United States.” According to a Jamestown Foundation report, the China-United States Exchange Foundation engages in lobbying efforts that “allows it to play a valuable role in Beijing’s efforts to sway public opinion and build influence in America.

In any other administration, Burns’ appointment would likely attract particular attention, given the sensitivity of the position to which he has been named and the possibility that he has been compromised by a hostile regime. In the Biden team, however, Burns’ background is not particularly noteworthy. Virtually all of Bidens’ picks appear to have aligned themselves with a rising Communist China long ago.

In years past, we used to engage in what we called “mole hunts.” We looked for individual agents of foreign powers who were passing classified information or in rare cases attempting to influence the direction of U.S. foreign policy. When we uncovered such individuals, we counted ourselves lucky to have plugged the “leak” and contained the damage.

What we see now with the Biden administration, is something wholly, qualitatively different. We are no longer looking at an individual who may be in the pay of a hostile regime. We are looking at the possibility that the Chinese Communist Party, after decades of tireless spadework, may have succeeded in essentially buying the senior levels of the American government.

A recent Republican Study Committee report characterized the situation this way.

The Biden Administration’s foreign policy team is overwhelmingly made up of a number of individuals who either have had links to the CCP or have a record of weak statements and actions on confronting it. These officials have promoted the radical idea that the U.S. should view China, a state that is committing genocide against its own people, as a partner of the U.S. As the saying goes, personnel is policy.

Republican Study Committee report.

This RSC Backgrounder explains the actions already taken by the Biden administration pivoting to a weak posture toward China and “outlines the concerning aspects of many of his foreign policy picks.

One wonders as we look at the scope of the potential threat we face, where is American counterintelligence. We have quite likely never faced a potential threat from hostile intelligence agencies on anything approaching this scale, and yet seemingly it has attracted no notice. Nominees, like Burns, who based on the foregoing information, one would think might have difficulty getting routine security clearances are being approved by the Senate and placed into positions of immense sensitivity without a word being uttered against them.

The price we may pay for this remains to be seen. It may prove catastrophic. We have faced many dire threats as a nation before, however, we have never before faced the possibility that those charged with the defense of the nation have in fact sold their souls to the enemy.