Newly appointed United Nations ambassador Susan Power's absence from an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria has raised eyebrows and questions. When pressed on the matter at Thursday's press briefing, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki three times declined to give further details on Power's whereabout and referred further questions to the United Nations:
QUESTION: Last question: Where exactly was Ambassador Power that she could not take part in this emergency Security Council session?
MS. PSAKI: Well --
QUESTION: Where exactly was she?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the U.N. has spoken to this, but since you asked and I like to be transparent as possible, Ambassador Power is on a prearranged trip...
QUESTION: Is she on vacation?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more details for you. I’d send you to the U.N. for her schedule.
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QUESTION: I just don’t understand why you’re unwilling to tell us where Ambassador Power was. There’s no dishonor in having had a scheduled vacation, if that’s the case.
MS. PSAKI: She had a previously scheduled trip.
MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I need to go into more detail from here, and you’re welcome to call the United Nations, where she is the Ambassador.
However, each usage of "U.N." by Ms. Psaki was later footnoted in the State Department transcript as "U.S. Mission to the U.N." And as the State Department's organizational chart shows, the U.S. Mission to the U.N. is part of the State Department, directly under the secretary of state.
Jen Psaki is the spokesperson for the State Department.