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Biden’s USAID Nominee ‘Lobbied’ to remove Terror-Linked Group from U.S. Blacklist

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President Biden’s pick to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, previously “lobbied” to remove an Iranian organization funding terrorism from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list.

The unearthed effort, revealed via a letter from Senator Charles Grassley, notes that “several emails uncovered during my investigation show that while you were the Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), you were involved in efforts to delist (Islamic Relief Agency) ISRA from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list.”

ISRA, which has aided and funneled millions to Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists, appears to have enjoyed help from then-UN Ambassador Powers in its quest to “muscle their way off the SDN list via back channel political pressure.”

Grassley details the improper channels used to initiate a review of the group’s SDN designation:

“Generally, if an individual or a non-governmental organization (NGO) believes that they were misidentified, wrongly placed, or have significantly changed behavior enough to justify their removal from the SDN list, they may request that they be removed by contacting the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Our records indicate that ISRA did not reach out to OFAC to have their status re-examined.  Despite this, in emails dated February 20, 2015, your deputy, Jeremy Weinstein, contacted OFAC requesting that OFAC, “initiate a review without a formal request from [ISRA].” This email chain is subsequent to another set of emails sent earlier on February 11, 2015, stating that you had asked your staff to “follow up” on “a long-running issue related to [the U.S.’s] designation of [ISRA].”

Also included in the letter are 10 questions for her Senate confirmation process, including:

If you were aware of ISRA’s extensive history of financing terrorists, why did you feel it prudent to advocate for overturning their designation?  If you were not aware, did you or your staff conduct any due diligence regarding ISRA’s history?  If not, why not?

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Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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