President-elect Joe Biden nominated Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama administration, to head up the US agency tasked with providing civilian foreign aid, calling her a “voice of conscience and moral clarity.”
Biden will also elevate the position of administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to a member of the National Security Council in his administration.
Power, who served at the UN from 2013 to 2017, as head of USAID will work with the world community to combat the coronavirus pandemic, provide assistance to struggling communities and advance “American interests around the globe,” the Biden transition committee said in a statement on Wednesday.
Biden called her a “world-renowned voice of conscience and moral clarity — challenging and rallying the international community to stand up for the dignity and humanity of all people. I know firsthand the unparalleled knowledge and tireless commitment to principled American engagement she brings to the table, and her expertise and perspective will be essential as our country reasserts its role as a leader on the world stage.”
While at the UN, Power was involved in the international response to the Ebola epidemic, efforts to ratify the Paris climate agreement and worked with an international team to help dismantle the financial networks of ISIS, the statement said.
Before serving at the UN, she was a member of the National Security Council from 2009 to 2013.
But Power has also come under scrutiny for her role in unmasking – or identifying – Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser in his calls to former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Classified documents from the office of the Director of National Intelligence and released by GOP Sens. Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson in May 2020 show Power was among the Obama administration officials seeking to identify Flynn.
Flynn, who admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak, was pardoned by Trump in December.
In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in October 2017 that was later released, Power claimed she never asked to unmask Flynn.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the panel, asked her specifically about the retired general.
“I have no recollection of making a request related to General Flynn,” she said.
Schiff followed up: “I take it you never leaked Mr. Flynn’s name in any way, General Flynn’s name?”
“I have never leaked classified information. I have never leaked names that have come back to me in this highly compartmented process. I have, in fact, never leaked, even unclassified information,” she responded.
Sources told Fox News in September 2017 that Power tried to expose more than 260 people in 2016, most in the final days of the Obama administration.