- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2021

CIA Director William Burns on Thursday eased Sen. Marco Rubio‘s fears that the spy agency would establish a presence on TikTok, a social media platform tied to the Chinese Communist Party.

In a letter to the Florida senator, Mr. Burns thanked the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, for his request that the CIA steer clear of social media platform and other “Chinese-owned apps” that Mr. Rubio said pose a significant risk to national security.

“I agree,” Mr. Burns said.

“The CIA has never had a presence on TikTok and has no plans to join the platform,” he said.

Last week, Mr. Rubio wrote Mr. Burns after a CIA spokesperson told Politico the agency was considering joining the “Gen Z-dominated video app” but acknowledged the risk and said the agency currently had no plans to join.

The CIA spokesperson’s statement was published in an article about the agency’s social media strategy to demystify the CIA and recruit a more diverse workforce.

“We cannot pretend that TikTok and other Chinese-owned companies are not beholden to the CCP,” Mr. Rubio wrote last week. “Both China’s Counterespionage Law and Cybersecurity Law grant PRC intelligence officials the right to enter privately-owned commercial facilities, examine private records, investigate and question personnel, and access or even seize communications equipment owned by companies or individuals.”

Earlier this year, the agency’s social media strategy was criticized after the agency released a post as part of its “Humans of CIA” campaign in which a CIA employee named Mia extolled the push toward inclusivity at the agency.

“I am a woman of color, I am a mom, I am a cisgender millennial who’s been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise,” Mia said in the post.

The CIA was blasted for its “woke” campaign by conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and former Trump administration CIA director Mike Pompeo.

Mr. Rubio piled on in his letter last week, calling on Mr. Burns to reject the “woke agenda” and “focus on keeping American’s safe.”

“Instead of devoting precious national security resources toward a misguided agenda, the CIA should be focused on the most pressing challenges of our time, including the threats from the CCP, Putin’s Russia, the Iranian regime, and terrorist networks growing more dangerous due to the Biden Administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal,” he wrote.

After receiving Mr. Burns‘ assurance Thursday, Mr. Rubio breathed a sigh of relief.

“Good!” Mr. Rubio tweeted Thursday. “Had me worried there for a bit.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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