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Monday, January 18, 2021

Joe Biden names Samantha Power as pick to lead USAID

President-elect Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday named Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama administration, as his pick to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Mr. Biden also elevated the position to be in the National Security Council (NSC).

“As USAID Administrator, Ambassador Power will be a powerful force for lifting up the vulnerable, ushering in a new era of human progress and development, and advancing American interests globally,” Mr. Biden said.

Before she served as U.N. ambassador from 2013-2017, Ms. Power was on the NSC staff from 2009-2013 as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights.

Ms. Power was one of several high-ranking members of the Obama administration who apparently put in “unmasking” requests and may have received retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s identity during the presidential transition period in 2016-2017 in response to a request.

She told the House Intelligence Committee that she had no recollection of making a request connected to Mr. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and said she’s never leaked classified or unclassified information.

The identities of U.S. citizens picked up during surveillance of foreign officials are required to be hidden or “masked,” and only high-ranking officials can request the names.

Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential transition period before Mr. Trump took office. He was pardoned by Mr. Trump in November.


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