CIA Has Doubled Its Budget for China in the Past 2 Years: CIA Chief

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  • China, not Russia, is a bigger threat to the US, says CIA chief William Burns.
  • Burns said the CIA has more than doubled its budget for China in the past two years.
  • The CIA, Burns said, was “stepping up efforts across the world to compete with China.”

The CIA views China as a far bigger threat to the US than Russia and is committing more resources than ever to counter it, says agency chief William J. Burns.

“While Russia may pose the most immediate challenge, China is the bigger long-term threat,” Burns wrote in a Foreign Affairs op-ed published on Tuesday.

“The CIA has committed substantially more resources toward China-related intelligence collection, operations, and analysis around the world — more than doubling the percentage of our overall budget focused on China over just the last two years,” Burns said in his article.

The increased focus, Burns said, has seen the CIA recruit and train more Mandarin speakers. The CIA chief said the agency is also “stepping up efforts across the world to compete with China, from Latin America to Africa to the Indo-Pacific.”

Burns’ remarks on China echo that of his British counterpart, Richard Moore, who heads MI6.

“We now devote more resources to China than any other mission,” Moore said in an interview with Politico in July. “That reflects China’s importance in the world and the crucial need to understand both the intent and capability of the Chinese government.”

The West has grown increasingly wary of Chinese espionage. Last February, the US military shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon after it flew over the continental US.

Later in June, The Wall Street Journal reported that China was planning to set up a spy base in Cuba. According to the Journal, the base could be used to eavesdrop on signals from military installations in the southeastern US.

Representatives for Burns did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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