• Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023


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William Burns, Head of the CIA, Tests Positive For Covid

William J. Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, a day after meeting with President Biden.

The meeting was not considered a close contact for Mr. Biden because the two practiced social distancing and Mr. Burns was wearing an N95 mask, according to a C.I.A. statement. Mr. Biden tested negative on Wednesday when he was screened as part of regular health monitoring, an administration official said.

Mr. Burns, who is 65, fully vaccinated and boosted, is experiencing mild symptoms, the C.I.A. statement said, adding that he is now isolating and will work from his home. He will return to the agency’s headquarters in Virginia after isolating for five days and then testing negative for the virus.

The positive test will prevent Mr. Burns from briefing lawmakers on Capitol Hill or attending White House briefings while he remains in isolation. Though Mr. Burns attends intelligence briefings at the White House several times a month, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, has primary responsibility for Mr. Biden’s regular intelligence sessions.

Mr. Burns will continue to preform his duties from home rather than handing responsibility to David S. Cohen, the deputy director. In the statement, Mr. Burns said he remains fully engaged despite the mild symptoms.

As director of the C.I.A., Mr. Burns’ work is almost exclusively with classified material. Common practice would be for senior national security officials to use secure devices when working and communicating from home or anywhere else outside their offices.