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CIA director says the agency currently has “a number of different projects” that focus on crypto

The current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns, said his predecessor at the government agency had started projects focused on gathering information about cryptocurrencies.

Asks a question about crypto at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit on Monday, Burns called In addition to communicating with industry experts, the CIA also wanted to add expertise in cryptocurrencies and blockchain to their team of intelligence analysts. He said the challenges from the crypto space could have “huge implications” for the United States, given what he has already seen in ransomware attacks.

“My predecessor started it,” Burns said, probably referring to the actions of former acting CIA director David Cohen. “[They] had launched a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency that sought to investigate second and third order consequences as well, and to help our colleagues in other parts of the US government provide solid information on what we are also seeing. “

Screenshot from the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit on December 6th

He added that building such knowledge about crypto is “a major priority” for the agency and plans to devote “resources and attention” to it. The CIA director did not provide any details on the direction the agency was going to take with regard to combating cyberattacks, but indicated that it would aim to get “into the financial networks” for criminal groups using digital currencies for ransom use.

Burns, who took over the position of director in March, has seen hackers get millions of crypto over you Attack on the colonial pipeline system in May, but also a US government task force responded by recovering most of the lost funds. Michael Morrell, a former acting CIA director from 2012 to 2013, said, “Blockchain analysis is a highly effective crime-fighting and intelligence-gathering tool”. underutilized by law enforcement agencies Agencies.

Related: CIA has had keys to global communications encryption since World War II

There is no set term for a CIA director, which means Burns will likely serve with the agency for the pleasure of US President Joe Biden. At the time of publication, Biden has not yet disclosed his selects three empty spaces on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

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