Dead Drop: March 5

BACKING BILL: The Cipher Brief had an exclusive this week, obtaining a copy of a letter supporting the nomination of Ambassador Bill Burns to be the next CIA Director.  The letter was sent to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) by a bi-partisan group of twelve former DCI’s or DCIA’s (including actings).  The letter was dated February 22nd, but we did not get it until March.  You know how slow the mail has been lately.  The letter concluded that “Few people could be better prepared for the job of CIA Director than Ambassador Burns. We endorse his nomination and urge his swift confirmation.” The letter was signed by every living former CIA chief except James Woolsey (who was probably out trying to get to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination) and Mike Pompeo, who was off at CPAC and may not have been able to find one of those Chinese pens he had made while Secretary of State, to sign the letter. Just hours after The Cipher Brief published the letter, the SSCI voted unanimously to back Burns.  We take full credit of course.

BACKING BIDEN: The New York Times noticed this week that an obscure publication with only 500 subscribers, “Democracy: A Journal of Ideas,” has six former contributors who have been nominated for senior positions in the Biden administration. While The Cipher Brief hasn’t hit six formers nominated for new positions (yet) it does boast four people among its list of experts who have been moved to the TCB alumni category after landing senior positions in the new administration.  They include Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Deputy CIA Director David Cohen, Deputy Attorney General nominee Lisa Monaco, and Acting Deputy Attorney General John CarlinThe Cipher Brief prides itself on being non-partisan and, if the presidential election had turned out differently, we suspect we would have lost a similar number of TCB experts to serve in a second Trump administration.

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