CIA Deputy Director David Cohen reportedly said at the meeting weeks earlier that while the agency will continue to fight al-Qaeda and other terrorists, it is making China its priority.
A year after the US withdrew from Afghanistan, the drone strike on al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri last week is an indication of the CIA’s continuing attention toward counter-terrorism while the agency pivots to China. Many intelligence officials and lawmakers reportedly say that the shift in focus is long overdue. They have called for more insight on China after they were unable to definitively determine the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US is also concerned about China’s rapid progress in advanced technologies. Last year, the CIA announced it would create a new “mission center” dedicated to China. It is also attempting to recruit more Chinese speakers.
The report comes amid growing tensions over Taiwan caused by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island, to which China responded with large-scale military exercises.