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CIA chief: I'm no Jason Bourne, I drive an old Subaru

·2-min read

CIA Director Bill Burns said in the US spy agency's first-ever podcast Thursday that his life is nothing like Jason Bourne and James Bond, ripping hot cars through crowded cities and deploying unimaginable lethal gadgets.

Popular spy films show "a world of heroic individuals who drive fast cars and defuse bombs and solve world crises all on their own every day," Burns said.

"That, I have to tell you, is a constant source of amusement for my wife and daughters."

"I'm most comfortable driving our 2013 Subaru Outback at posted speed limits and, for me at least, the height of technological daring is when I can finally get the Roku remote to work at home," he admitted.

Burns, 66, a veteran diplomat who has run the Central Intelligence Agency since March 2021, made the comments in the first episode of "The Langley Files," a podcast that pledges to demystify the super-secret agency.

Burns' main point was to stress that while the CIA has many officers undercover in the field, they are not dramatic solo operators like Bond, Bourne or Jack Ryan of Hollywood fame.

"The truth is that intelligence is very much a team sport. It's a profession of hard collective work and shared risks," Burns said.

And besides field operators, it involves teams of people -- scientists, digital specialists and other analysts -- sifting information in offices.

He held up the operation that found and killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in July, as well as CIA intelligence in December and January showing Russia planned to invade Ukraine, as important successes.

"Our successes are often obscured, our failures are often painfully visible, and our sacrifices are often unknown. But a certain amount of discretion certainly comes with the territory," Burns said.

The podcast is hosted by "Dee" and "Walter," but a CIA spokesperson would not give their last names or even say if the first names were authentic.

Asked how often the podcast would appear, the spokesperson said, "Periodically."

pmh/to