Who are the closest Jordanians to the new director of CIA?

[12-01-2021 12:56 AM]

Ammon News -
US President-elect, Joe Biden has chosen William Burns, a former ambassador of the United States of America to Jordan, as a new director of CIA.

Ammonnews looked into the question of who are the closest Jordanians to the new director of CIA?!

All of people who were asked by the editor agreed that the answer is the former minister Dr. Marwan Alma’asher who served as one of Burns’s deputies in carnegie when the retired ambassador, Burns was the director of carnegie endowment for international peace

Alma’asher said to ammonnews that the closest figure to the new director is His Majesty King Abdullah as the king is deeply respected and appreciated and has a great relationship with him due to the king’s deep understanding of Arab and international politics.

Ammonnews knew that Burns has always visited Alma’asher house when he visits Jordan, and he has always visited Rum, Alaqabah and Jordanian desert.

Alma’asher indicated that Burns has a long experience in political field. Burns will be the first diplomat to take this position, indicating that this is a positive indication which confirms the direction of the new administration towards political dimension rather than security especially with regards to such a position.

When Burns was an ambassador of the United States of America to Jordan, Alma’asher was an ambassador of Jordan to the United States of America.

Alma’asher sees that the new director is an honest figure in terms of Arab–Israeli conflict. He has an excellent relationship with Jordan and he is a friend of King Abdullah.

An international journalist said to ammonnews that Burns admired King Abdullah and cities of Jordan especially Ma’an. The journalist added that he has a great relationship with Marwan Alma’asher, Sameeh Albateekhi and Adnan Abu Odah.

Alma’asher said that Burns has also great relationship with Dr Reema Abu Khalaf and Abed Alkareem Alkabareeti. However, Alma’asher indicated that Burns is beneficial to Arabs, Jordan and Palestinian cause.

Expert in Jordan-America relations, Senate Dr Mustapha Hamarneh said that former minister Alma’asher is the best Jordanian to understand the personality of the new director.

William Burns holds Bachelor degree in history from La Salle University. He holds Masters and PhD in international relations from the University of Oxford.

Burns was the ambassador of the United States of America to Jordan from 1998-2001.

He also served as an assistant of foreign minister for Near East affairs.

He served as an ambassador of the United States of America to Russia from 2005-2008.

He is fluent in Arabic, French and Russian.

Washington post said that the choice of Burns is the incoming administration’s last major personnel decision, and it highlights the qualities that characterize Biden’s foreign policy team. Burns is an inside player — brainy, reserved, collegial — and loyal to his superiors, sometimes to a fault, as he conceded in his 2019 memoir.

Though a diplomat, not a spy, Burns is a classic “gray man” like those who populate the intelligence world. And he has often served as a secret emissary: The title of his memoir, “The Back Channel,” refers in part to his role as the covert intermediary in the initial contacts with Iran that led to the 2015 nuclear agreement.

For an agency that lives on personal trust, Burns is an apt choice. As I wrote nearly two years ago in reviewing the memoir, Burns “is widely viewed as the best Foreign Service officer of his generation.” His list of mentors is a “who’s who” of diplomacy, perhaps topped by James A. Baker III, who served as secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush in the closing days of the Cold War.

The choice of Burns will disappoint those who wanted a career intelligence officer to succeed Gina Haspel, the current director. Michael Morell, a career CIA analyst and former acting director, was popular among many CIA alumni, who argued that he knew the agency’s shortcomings well enough to oversee the overhaul that CIA needs for the 21st century.

Biden opted for an outsider who could bring independent judgment to running the agency. He is said to have offered the job initially to Thomas E. Donilon, a former national security adviser in the Obama administration and close Biden friend, and then to have considered David Cohen, a former Treasury official who worked for two years as CIA deputy director under President Barack Obama.

What’s likely to have appealed to Biden, in addition to his personal comfort level with Burns, is his 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. Burns will have to surmount that — and encourage change in an agency whose fundamentals have been rocked by new technology.

The CIA has been hunkered down during the Trump years, with employees trying to stick to their jobs of collecting and analyzing secrets even as Trump made the intelligence agencies his personal punching bag. Trump’s first CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seen by agency officers as smart and aggressive but also mercurial and temperamental.

Haspel dealt skillfully with Pompeo as his deputy, and she replaced him when he left to become secretary of state. She has kept an unusually low profile, disdaining media interviews and trying to avoid clashes with the volcanic Trump. Foreign intelligence chiefs came to see Haspel’s continued tenure as a key indicator that the United States was still a reliable secret partner, despite Trump’s machinations.

Haspel held her ground when it mattered. When journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, she told Congress that the agency had relatively high confidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible — even though the Saudi leader was a Trump favorite. Several weeks before the Nov. 3 election, Haspel signaled that she would resign if Trump and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe released sensitive classified information about the origins of the Russia investigation whose disclosure she believed would seriously harm national security.

Since leaving the State Department in 2014 after a 33-year diplomatic career, Burns has served as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Fluent in Arabic and Russian, he has less experience in what’s arguably the biggest challenge for the next CIA director — understanding a China that poses a growing economic, political and military challenge. Burns will also need to focus on the rapidly changing technologies that support intelligence — and threaten the CIA’s ability to operate in a world where every movement leaves a digital exhaust and a DNA trace.

To succeed at the CIA, Burns will have to be undiplomatic. That may not be his natural instinct, but this job requires telling people, especially the boss, things they don’t want to hear.

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