As the Pentagon is focusing on confronting China, US spy agencies are following suit. According to a report from Bloomberg, the CIA is weighing options to create a new spy center that would be exclusively focused on China.
China has long been under the umbrella of the CIA’s “Mission Center for East Asia and Pacific.” Sources told Bloomberg that the agency wants to create a new “Mission Center for China” that would make it easier for the CIA to focus attention on Beijing and secure funding for such activities.
The option is being considered as part of the agency’s broader review of its capabilities against China that was ordered by CIA Director William Burns. “As Director Burns has said, China is one of his priorities, and the CIA is in the process of determining how best to position ourselves to reflect the significance of this priority,” the CIA said in a statement to Bloomberg.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, like most Biden cabinet picks, Burns identified China as the top “adversary” facing Washington. “Adversarial, predatory Chinese leadership poses our biggest geopolitical test,” Burns told the Senate Intelligence Committee in February. He described China as a “formidable, authoritarian adversary.”
In a recent interview with NPR, Burns suggested the CIA was considering deploying “China specialists” around the world, as the agency did during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
“During the Cold War, both at the State Department and at CIA, we rightly forward-deployed Soviet specialists to help make sure that we could compete effectively. I think the same is true and this is one of the things that I’m exploring right now, to forward-deploy China specialists,” he said.