CYBER SPIES: CIA director nominee to push back on China, Russia

William Burns, President Biden’s pick to lead the CIA, promised Wednesday to push back against both China and Russia if confirmed, zeroing in on the fallout from what has become known as the SolarWinds breach.

“While Russia may be in many ways a declining power it can be at least as disruptive under Putin’s leadership as rising powers like China,” he said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

With the SolarWinds hack putting cybersecurity concerns in the spotlight, Burns also committed to strengthening the CIA’s cyber capabilities and training, along with increasing efforts to attribute cyberattacks to specific nations and enhancing cyber partnerships with foreign allies.

“The SolarWinds attack was a very harsh wake-up call,” Burns testified. “I think it’s essential for the CIA in particular to work even harder to develop our capabilities to help detect these kinds of attacks when they come from external players from foreign players.”

Burns discussed a range of other issues he may face if confirmed, pledging to “speak truth to power.”