The current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns said that his predecessor at the government agency started projects focused on gathering intelligence on cryptocurrencies.
Responding to a question about cryptocurrencies at the General Directors’ Council Summit of the Wall street journal On Monday, Burns said the CIA was looking to add cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise to its team of intelligence analysts, in addition to communicating with industry experts. He said that the challenges of the cryptocurrency space “could have a huge impact” on the United States given what it has already seen in ransomware attacks.
“My predecessor had started this”, Burns said, probably referring to the actions of former acting CIA director David Cohen. “[Ellos] they had launched a number of different projects focusing on cryptocurrencies and trying to look at second and third order consequences as well and helping with our colleagues in other parts of the US government to provide robust intelligence on what we are seeing as well. ” .
He added that building that knowledge about cryptocurrencies was “a major priority” for the Agency, and that he planned to dedicate “resources and attention” thereto. The CIA director did not mention details about the direction the Agency plans to take with regard to fighting cyberattacks, but hinted that its target would be “reach financial networks” of criminal groups that use digital currencies to request ransoms.
Burns, who took over as director in March, has seen hackers demanding millions in cryptocurrency for an attack on the Colonial Pipeline system in May, but also how a US government task force responded by recovering most of the lost funds. . Michael Morrell, Former Acting Director of the CIA from 2012 to 2013, said that “Blockchain analysis is a very effective tool for crime fighting and intelligence gathering”, one underused by law enforcement agencies.
There is no fixed term for a CIA director, which means Burns will likely serve at the Agency at the discretion of US President Joe Biden. At the time of writing, Biden had not yet announced his candidates for the three vacant seats on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.