CIA Director William Burns visited Greece earlier in the week where he met intelligence officers in a visit shrouded in secrecy.
Local news media reported that the top American spy was in Athens on Tuesday and left for an unspecified location the next day.
Burns’ arrival in Athens was the first visit by a CIA director to Greece in 11 years and reflects, as Greek intelligence sources told daily Ta Nea, the “real upgrading and strengthening of Greece-US relations, which have been elevated to a completely different level”.
The same sources told the Greek daily that for the US, Greece has turned into a point of reference, especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the wider region of the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa, there are not many democracies that Washington can rely on, they added.
William “Bill” Burns was officially sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on March 19, 2021, making him the first career diplomat to serve as Director. Director Burns holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service—Career Ambassador—and is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become Deputy Secretary of State.
Director Burns retired from the State Department U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 before becoming president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
CIA Burns visit to Greece confirms the country’s important role in NATO
Greece has also assumed a strategic role for NATO since it has turned into a hub for “supply logistics” for US and Alliance forces in central and eastern Europe. In addition, the US has invested millions of dollars in expanding its military presence in Greece.
In February during talks in Athens on the 4th Greece – U.S. Strategic Dialogue, the US underscored the geostrategic importance of the Port of Alexandroupoli, which has transformed into a vital logistical hub for NATO’s defensive posture on its eastern flank and provides critical energy security to the region.
A growing number of U.S. forces are provisionally deployed in, exercising in, or transiting through Greece, working in solidarity with the Greek armed forces in support of the NATO Alliance.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lauded the role that Greece is playing throughout the region during his visit to Athens in February.
“The role that Greece is playing throughout the region as an energy hub, as a leader on climate, as a leader also for integrating countries further into Europe – the Western Balkans – is making a huge, huge difference and we’re grateful for that,” Blinken said.
The Secretary thanked Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis for Greece’s regional leadership, including its continued support of Ukraine.