Raja Krishnamoorthi of Samosa Caucus debuts on powerful US congressional spy panel
Krishnamoorthi, who was born in Delhi and immigrated to the US when he was three, is one of the four Indian American members of the House of Representatives and one of five in the Congress with Senator Kamala Harris.
Democratic lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi on Wednesday became the first South Asian to join the powerful intelligence committee of the US House of Representatives, which has oversight over the 17 intelligence agencies and will play an aggressive role in investigating president Donald Trump going forward.
Krishnamoorthi, a two-term member of the House from Illinois, is among four freshmen on the panel headed by chairman Adam Schiff. Schiff is an outspoken critic of the president, who has returned the hostility typically belittling the Democrat with a pejorative nickname, “Little Adam Schiff”.
The House committee on intelligence was front and centre in the previous Congress under Republican chairman Devin Nunes, as the president’s chief defender, turned into, according to most critics, a pliable tool for the use of the White House to weather the intense congressional scrutiny that was expected to follow.
“It is very humbling to be chosen to serve on the Intelligence Committee this Congress, and I am ready to join with my colleagues in preserving the safety and security of our nation,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.
Krishnamoorthi, who was born in Delhi and immigrated to the US when he was three, is one of the four Indian American members of the House of Representatives and one of five in the Congress with Senator Kamala Harris — a group he has christened the ‘Samosa Caucus”, small but spicy as the popular Indian snack, which as first reported by Hindustan Times.
“The intelligence challenges and international threats facing our country today are vast, ranging from terrorism to cyber-warfare to investigating Russia’s previous, and continuing attempts to sabotage our democracy,” he said in the statement.
“I am honored that the Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) and Caucus (the House legislative comparable to the Congress/BJP parliamentary party in India) have placed their trust in me and the contributions I’ll make to the Committee,” he said.
“When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect and defend the Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic, and I know that the work we do under the leadership of Chairman Adam Schiff will fulfill that solemn duty.”
Krishnamoorthi is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of relations with India and has been a frequent speaker at India-related events, headlining, for instance, the first public reception and engagement of the new Indian ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla as well as the farewell of his predecessor Navtej Sarna.