Tamil lawmaker becomes first South Asian to serve on powerful US committee on intelligence

Raja Krishnamoorthy, an Indian-American Democratic lawmaker of Tamil origin, has been appointed as a member of a Congressional committee on intelligence. Thanks to this appointment, he has become the first South Asian to serve in the powerful body tasked to strengthen America's national security. The 45-year-old represents Illinois's 8th congressional district in the House. Krishnamoorthy was chosen along with Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York and Peter Welch of Vermont as the four new Democratic members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) for the 116th Congress.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi appointed Krishnamoorthi Wednesday. The HPSCI is tasked with overseeing the activities and budget of the 17 intelligence agencies of the US. According to Pelosi, "Our new members of the Intelligence Committee bring exceptional judgment, expertise and determination to our mission to honour that oath and, guided by the strong, principled leadership of Chairman Adam Schiff, will restore the long tradition of bipartisanship and integrity of this critical committee. We look forward to the many contributions these new members will bring to Democrats' work to strengthen America's national security and defend our democracy".

Krishnamoorthi said, "It is very humbling to be chosen to serve on the Intelligence Committee in this Congress, and I am ready to join with my colleagues in preserving the safety and security of our nation. The intelligence challenges and international threats facing our country today are vast, ranging from terrorism to cyberwarfare to investigating Russia's previous and continuing attempts to sabotage our democracy.

I am honoured that the Speaker and Caucus have placed their trust in me and the contributions I'll make to the Committee. 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 fulfil that solemn duty." Born into a Tamil-speaking family in New Delhi, Krishnamoorthi's family moved to Buffalo, New York when he was three months old.